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The Quirt a nd The Spur 




i' ^ 





1 J 8389 

Copyright, 1909 by 



Preface 7 

The Tenderfoot 9 

Breaking in the Tenderfoot 37 

The Legend of the Tonkawa Indians 53 

The "Wild and Woolly" Citizens 69 

The Vigilance Committee 99 

Leadbetter's Salt Works 116 

The Advent of "Texas" 135 

Amusing Incidents 152 

On the Buffalo Range 220 

The Genuine Cow Boy 270 

Indian Battles on the Frontier 303 

Texas' Wedding Day 353 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 



Edgar Rye Frontispiece 

,Fort Griffin in 1876 25 

A Tenderfoot's First Ride 45 

Indian Courier 57 

John Black and Jenne 65 

Had Him Trussed Up Like a Chicken 79 

Chief Johnson 127 

Dancing to Six Shooter Time 155 

When Cowpunchers Came to Town 163 

Uncle George Greer 169 

Shooting the Lights Out 293 


Ail that has passed on before appear to me as vanish- 
ing shadows, into whose hazy depths I now dimly see as 
in a dream ; too far away to grasp the details, yet a vision 
clear enough to quicken my mind and allow imagination 
to supply the perspective, and to even incarnate the 
actors, and bid them come forth from that mystic realm 
of long ago, and once more give a realistic performance 
for the mutual pleasure of old friends. 

Tis true, the cycle of time has whirled us along so 
fast that we have drifted into the broad field of commer- 
cialism, and now we can hardly realize that there is a 
past worth remembering — a time before the flood of im- 
migration set in with its ever increasing population, grad- 
ually covering all traces of the Texas frontier. 

In these modern days I find it a most difficult task to 
secure any data, much less to tell the true story; never- 
theless, I think it is worth while. 

And there is much that is interesting in the telling, 
too, notwithstanding my friend the critic may not find, 
in the "warp and woof" of the story, the weaving of a 
narrative that he can pronounce "all wool and a yard 
wide." I will be content if the few remaining frontier- 
men and their descendants can unravel a thread or two 
that will prove interesting reading. 

In the fire light when the embers glow, 
I see the vanishing shadows come and go, 
Peopled with the figures I once knew ; 
Fancy figures now — farewell — adieu ! 


Please do not write in this 
hook or turn down the pages 




Tread cautiously as you advance West; 
He who observes most will fare best. 

Far out into that vast expanse of country known as 
Northwest Texas, in the early days of the frontier, when 
unrestrained nature played with the ambitions and pas- 
sions of men — far out beyond the confines of civiliza- 
tion — beyond the reach of the strong arm of the law — 
beyond the christianizing influences of the church — be- 
yond the gentle touch of a woman's hand — far out where 
daring men took possession of the hunting grounds of 
the Indian and killed herds of buffalo to make a small 
profit in pelts, leaving the carcasses to putrify and bones 
to bleach on the prairies — far out where cattlemen dis- 
puted over the possession of mavericks, and the brand- 
ing-iron was the only evidence of ownership — far out 
where a cool head backed the deadly six-shooter, and the 
man behind the gun, with a steady aim and a quick trig- 
ger, won out in the game where life was staked upon the 
issue — far out where the distant landscape melted into 
the blue horizon, and a beautiful mirage was painted 
on the sky line — far out where the weary, thirsty traveler 
camped over night near a deep water hole, while near by 
in the green valley a herd of wild horses grazed unre- 
strained by man's authority — far out where the coyote 
wolves yelped in unison as they chased a jack rabbit 
in a circle of death, then fought over his remains in a 


bloody feast — far out where the gray lobo wolf and the 
mountain lion stalked their prey, killed and gorged their 
fill until the light in the East warned them to seek 
cover in their mountain lairs — far out where bands of 
red warriors raided the lonely ranch houses, killing, burn- 
ing and pillaging, leaving a trail of blood and ashes 
behind them as a sad warning to the white man to be- 
ware of the Indian's revenge — far out into this wonder- 
ful country of great possibilities, where the sun looked 
down upon a scene of rare beauty, brilliant, gorgeous 
and fascinating, appealing to sentiment, awakening love 
of romance and sending man's thoughts soaring on wings 
of his imagination — far out into this storehouse of na- 
ture, where the luxuriant mesquite grass, like an emerald 
carpet of velvet, covered the hills and valleys, furnishing 
unlimited pasture for the great herds of cattle turned 
loose on the open range — far out where the McKinzie 
trail crossed the Clear Fork of the Brazos river, near 
the confluence of Collins creek, Maj. George H. Thomas 
established an army post on the top of a low, flat hill, 
and named it Fort Griffin. 

It was in the month of March in the year 1876, during 
the last hour of a crisp, bright day, when the twilight 
shadows were settling over the valley of the Clear Fork, 
a covered wagon, drawn by a pair of jaded horses, turned 
from the trail and halted in a grove of pecan trees not 
far from the crossing. The five occupants jumped out 
and made preparations for camping over night. 

There were four young men who came from the thickly 
populated districts of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, 
and the fifth was the guide, who was also the owner 
and driver of the team, chartered by these young men 
for this overland trip. 

No doubt these four young men, prompted by their 


love of adventure, had followed Horace Greeley's advice, 
"Go West, young man; go West." 

Each could have been labeled "Tenderfoot," notwith- 
standing their "Wild West" costumes. 

With one accord they began to gather the dry drift- 
wood and build a fire, while Dick, the guide, tethered 
the horses and fed them, before he began preparations 
to cook the evening meal. 

When supper was over they filled their pipes and 
lounged around the smoldering fire. And for a long 
time they smoked in silence, each busy with his own 

The darkness slowly enveloped them, like an invisible 
curtain drawn by an unseen hand. The tall pecan trees, 
with their festoons of grapevines, shut out the starlit sky, 
and the undergrowth made the darkness more intense. 
The flickering flames of the fire, with their bluish tinge, 
cast fantastic, ghostlike shadows on the dark background 
and increased the loneliness that oppressed the campers. 

Those mysterious sounds of woodland nature that 
come forth at night played a medley up and down the 
river valley, accentuated by the sharp barking of a coyote 
wolf and the hooting of an owl from the upland. 

Civilization, with all of its attendant comforts, was 
200 miles east. It first began to fade from their view 
when they departed from the town of Dallas, on the 
banks of the Trinity river, the western terminal of the 
Texas & Pacific railway, where the wagon traffic of the 
frontier connected with the iron rails. And when they 
began the journey across the open prairie on the trail 
to Fort Worth, the scattered houses became fewer and 
the distance between them greater, until the vast expanse 
of treeless country on either side was devoid of houses 
or improvements. The indistinct evidence of a distant 


East merged into the free and easy West when they 
arrived in the village of Fort Worth, where wagon trains 
loaded with buffalo hides traded their cargo for camp 
supplies. All traces of the East disappeared when they 
bade good-by to chance acquaintances at the little hamlet 
of Weatherford and rolled out on the buffalo trail toward 
the setting sun; and all social pleasures and commercial 
advantages of the East were forgotten during the ten 
days' slow, plodding journey westward, hunting and fish- 
ing by the wayside. 

But tonight they seemed to have awakened to a realiza- 
tion of their lonely surroundings, and through the seduc- 
tive vapor of tobacco smoke came visions of their homes 
in the distant States — friends and relatives, beckoning 
them to return to the business activity and gay social 
whirl of the cities and towns ; perhaps the pretty faces and 
shining eyes of sweethearts were conspicuous in the men- 
tal picture, making the longing more intense, and the 
weight of depression bore down upon their drooping spir- 
its, suppressing all desire to enliven the evening with 
song and story. 

And the full significance of the thirty graves they 
passed on their journey west, near the trail in Los Val- 
ley, twelve miles northwest of Fort Richardson and the 
town of Jacksboro, where a caravan of freight wagons 
was attacked by a bloodthirsty band of Comanches, led 
by Santanc and Big Tree, came up in retrospect. 

The vivid recital of Dick, the guide, as he told the 
hair-raising story of the massacre of the teamsters after 
a fierce battle, the burning of the wagons with the 
wounded tied to the wheels, and the finding of their 
charred remains after the holocaust, was listened to with 
all the thrill of viewing the ground made historic by the 
tragic event. It had been exhilarating excitement at 


the time to hear Dick tell of the narrow escape of Gen. 
Tecumseh Sherman, who was then making a tour of in- 
spection of the frontier army posts of Texas, and was 
within a few miles of the massacre with a small escort on 
his way to Fort Richardson, and arrived at General Mc- 
Kinzie's headquarters when a messenger was telling the J 
sad story. It was electrifying to remember that General 
Sherman became so excited that he ordered General 
McKinzie to take command of the 7th Cavalry and fol- 
low them — "follow them to the reservation and capture 
them, General — follow them to hell and capture or kill \ 
them — don't return without Santanc and Big Tree." 

And tonight these four young men remembered that 
they, too, were within that danger zone where the red 
warriors resented the white man's invasion, and that they 
never lost an opportunity to kill, burn and destroy their 
enemies. And even now there was a possibility that 
at any moment they might be called on to defend them- 
selves. This was calculated to knock all of the romance 
out of their previous conception of the West, and leave 
but little of the buoyant spirit that prompted them to 
make the journey. And, to judge from appearances, 
this was to be the beginning of the end of all of their 
venture into the realm where heroes are made : How 
different to be face to face with the real West, where 
real live Indians lived! 

Even Dick, the guide, seemed to fall under the spell, 
and instead of cheerfully whistling as usual while attend- 
ing to the routine of camp life, used cuss-words while 
repairing a break in the harness, and made no effort to 
conceal his irritability over trivial incidents. 

The uncertainty of their future movements, no doubt, 
had much to do with the depression that took possession 
of the camp, and cast a gloomy shadow over their 


But Kentuck, so nicknamed by his companions, was an 
optimist of the most pronounced type, and never gave 
himself up to gloomy thoughts or predicting disaster, 
and on this occasion resorted to raillery to arouse his 
companions from their gloomy lethargy. 

"Homesick, boys?" he inquired, as he looked around 
the circle of dejected countenances. 

"Well, I'm not particularly stuck on the situation," 
replied Allen Forts, the youngest member of the group. 

"I confess that I just begin to realize that it was not 
a wise venture to come out into this wild country with- 
out any preparation or forethought," said Sam Gazel. 

"Oh, we are a set of visionary galoots, carried away 
on the wings of the 'Wild West' novel stories, and now 
we have butted up against the facts after a flight of 
a few hundred miles in search of ideals. I guess it is 
about time to hold a consultation," remarked Bill James. 

"Cheer up !" exclaimed Kentuck. "You remind me of 
a bunch of kids, afraid of being spanked. We will hold 
a council in the morning and determine on a plan of 
action. For myself, I am well pleased with the pros- 
pects, and have made up my mind to remain and grow up 
with the country. I did not expect to occupy a seat 
in the grand stand and listen to the band play, while the 
cowboys and Indians did their stunts in the arena. Per- 
haps you kids want the peanuts and the lemonade passed 
around ?" 

"Oh, dry up, Kentuck," said Sam Gazel ; "it is bad 
enough to have the blues, without listening to your 'josh- 
ing.' It sounds like a lecture from my father when I 
used to stump my toe and was nursing my foot with 
both hands. You darned ninnies make me sick, com- 
miserating over imaginary ills. You remind me very 
much of an old maid in the mountains of Kentucky, sit- 


ting in the door of her cabin one bright day in the 
springtime, when the robin redbreast was picking up 
worms in the furrow behind the plowman, and the mar- 
tins circling around the 'cat and clay' chimney, looking 
for an opening to build their nests ; this poor, dejected 
lady was weeping aloud in her distress. Fortunately, 
a good neighborly matron came in time to offer condo- 
lence. 'What, in the world is the matter, Cynthia?' 

" 'Oh, Mrs. Riser,' said the distressed old maid, wring- 
ing her hands and rocking to and fro ; 'suppose I was 
married and had a sweet little baby boy — and — and — 
he was to take sick and die — Oh, wouldn't it be awful? 
Boo — boohoo — it nearly kills me to think about it.' " 

"Well, I'll be damned," said Dick, the guide. "The 
old gal was powerfully worked up, warn't she ?" 

"That's right, Kentuck ; rub it in. But you are not so 
lighthearted, I don't think, as you pretend to be," re- 
torted Sam Gazel. 

"Oh, yes, I am," said Kentuck; "I never felt better 
and had less pricks of conscience than at the present mo- 
ment. 'Tis true we are out in the 'Wild West,' with no 
well defined ideas or definite object in view. And, per- 
haps, it is time for sober thought and calm reflection, in- 
stead of our usual after supper jollity, before rolling up 
in our blankets for the night. But I can see no cause 
for depression. From the view we obtained of the fort 
from the top of the divide, a few miles back on the 
trail, I anticipate we will have an interesting time when 
we cross the river in the morning. So let's have a com- 
fortable rest while we smoke." 

No one answered Kentuck's last remarks, and the 
campers relapsed once more into silence. 

In the meantime, while thus preoccupied with their 
thoughts and oblivious to their surroundings, a band of 


Tonkawa Indian scouts arrived at the village of the 
tribe, situated behind a rocky bluff concealed from the 
camp at the crossing where the young men were enjoy- 
ing their quiet smoke. The distance between the camp 
and the Indian village was about one-half mile around a 
bend, and their presence was not known to Kentuck 
and his companions. 

Consequently, when the friendly Tonks began to beat 
their "tom-toms" preparatory to celebrating their victory 
over the Comanches, it created almost a panic in the 
camp where these young men were lounging around the 

They were not prepared for the "Yip ! Yip ! Hiyi ! 
Hiyi ! Kyaw ! Kyeeaw ! Yip ! Yip !" of the warwhoop, as 
it floated out on the night air with blood-curdling dis- 

"What in the devil is that?" exclaimed Allen Forts, 
as he jumped to his feet. 

The others turned their heads and looked at Dick in 
mute surprise. 

"Don't you all get frisky now, and try to stampede, 
'cause that's nothing but them measly old Tonks having 
a powwow up the creek," remarked Dick. "Been out 
with a government exhibition after a bunch of Coman- 
ches, I guess. 'Twas the same thing the last time I 
came out here. They always go crazy when they return 
from a raid, especially if they happen to pot one of their 
old enemies ; they are sure to go bucking around in their 
outlandish dance like a fellow with a bad case of the 
'jim-jams.' Would you like to see 'em play the game, 
gents ?" 

"I wouldn't miss it for a great deal," said Kentuck. 

"You bet, I sure want to see some real Indians, espe- 
cially a war-dance," said Sam Gazel. 


• ''Well, if it is a free show you can count me in, too," 
remarked Bill James. 

"Well, I'm 'Johnny on the spot,' too," said Allen Forts. 

"All right, gents ; wait until I throw the 'grub' into the 
wagon, to keep the coyotes from carrying it off ; then we 
will climb the rocky bluff, where we can look down on 
the racket." 

It required only a few minutes to secure the provi- 
sions, and, taking the precaution to carry their arms, they 
ascended the bluff that hid the Tonkawa village from 
their view. 

From this vantage ground they were given the rare 
opportunity of witnessing a genuine Indian war dance 
without embarassing the situation with their presence. 

It was a wild, picturesque scene, and required no em- 
bellishing to make it intensely interesting to the specta- 

In the center of a grove of cottonwood, pecan and 
elm trees, an Indian village of about twenty-five tepees 
surrounded an open plot of ground, perhaps one-half 
acre, in the shape of an arena. 

Occupying the center of this space was a large bonfire 
burning brightly, revealing all the surrounding objects 
within the radius of the circle of firelight, making an 
excellent background of scenic display, whose natural 
beauty was grand, beyond the conception of the most 
eminent artist that ever attempted to place on canvas 
the delicate lights and shades that hide within the depths 
of the leafy bowers, where the swinging branches cast 
moving shadows upon the ground, in harmony with the 
forms of the youths and maidens of the tribe, who lin- 
gered in the subdued light near the tepees, and watched 
the exciting scenes in which they were forbidden to par- 
ticipate. Looking down from the heights above the view 


was so fascinating, that the young men were spellbound, 
and not even Kentuck could find voice to break the spell. 
From out the shadow young squaws came laden with 
fuel to the fire, and from time to time replenished it 
with limbs of dead mesquite trees and rosin weeds, caus- 
ing the flames to flash up with a sudden glare, producing 
a weird appearance, like a scene in the play of "Faust." 

The red warriors, decked out in all the gaudy orna- 
ments that their savage ingenuity could devise, and re- 
splendent with feather-crested war bonnets, beaded and 
fringed hunting shirts and leggins, brandishing their 
tomahawks as they maneuvered in a circle with the fire as 
a pivot, were the star actors in the realistic drama dem- 
onstrating the force of Indian enthusiasm. 

The squaws of mature age formed an outer circle at 
a>safe distance from the active performance of the war- 
riors, where they kept up a crooning song, clapping their 
hands and marking time with their feet to the monot- 
onous thumping of the "tom-toms" by the old warriors in 
the background. 

Chief Johnson's imposing figure led the young braves 
through the figures of the dance. 

Fast and furious grew the exciting sport as the danc- 
ing figures hopped and skipped around the blazing fire, 
pausing a moment at the end of certain maneuvers, to 
shout, "Yip! Yip! Hiyi! Hyki! Kyaw ! Kyeeaw ! Yip! 
Yip !" 

Fascinated and spellbound, these young men looked 
down from their elevated position on a scene equal to 
a passion play, and presenting all the striking features of 
an Indian scouting party, trailing, fighting and killing 
their enemies. 

Could this real Indian war dance have been staged, 
with all the true features of these earnest warriors, 


giving vent to their fiery hatred of their enemies (not 
the Wild West show imitations), it would make an audi- 
ence sit up and take notice. 

Chief Johnson would stoop down and point to the 
ground to indicate the discovery of moccasin tracks ; 
then he would run forward on the trail, followed by the 
young warriors, in hot pursuit of the enemy. Now and 
then they would stop for a moment and shade their eyes 
with their hands as they looked into the distance for 
signs of their foes ; then off again on the trail with untir- 
ing energy; pausing a moment, they gather around the 
chief for consultation, and point to some distant object 
as though their foe was now in sight ; again on the trail, 
exhibiting caution and strategy as they advance to engage 
in battle ; the warwhoop is given as they dash forward 
to charge the ranks of the enemy ; fighting at close range 
with the long-bow; charging forward with spear and 
tomahawk ; hand to hand with hunting-knife ; a stroke 
in the heart and stooping to tear off the fallen foe's 
scalp — acted with all the fiery passion of their savage 

There, under the canopy of the star-sprinkled sky, in a 
natural theater with tree-lined walls, was presented a 
drama, crudely but faithfully portrayed in the flickering 
light of a camp fire. 

It was midnight before the spectators on the bluff 
were content to retire to their camp ; and even then they 
were not tired of watching the Indians. But remem- 
bering that they were nearing their jorney's end, and 
that the morrow promised greater possibilities, they 
agreed to retire. 

"Do you know that what I have witnessed tonight, 
boys, has repaid me for the time and expense of my 
journey west? It was a revelation that knocked all my 


previous conceptions of Indians in the head. I have 
always believed them to be a cold, impassive people, in- 
capable of expressing emotion, or exhibiting human char- 
acteristics. But now I am free to admit that the red 
man possesses like passions with his white brother," said 

"I would not have missed the show for a great deal. 
Whether I decide to remain in the West or return to 
my home, I will always remember the war dance on the 
banks of the Clear Fork of the Brazos river in Texas," 
said Allen Forts. 

"Well, I'll admit there is no more comparison between 
the real war dance and the novel writer's description than 
there is between a papoose and a negro baby," remarked 
Bill James. 

"It was an excellent entertainment, all right, and I 
would have paid an admission fee rather than miss it," 
said Sam Gazel. 

"You will soon git used to that kind of a racket if you 
stay out here," remarked Dick. 

"The more I see of this country, the more determined 
I am to remain. There is a great future full of bright 
promises in store for the people who build homes and 
till the rich soil of these broad prairies," said Kentuck. 

"Maybe," said Dick, "but I am gitting too sleepy to 
talk about the future. Let's all roll in and take a 

Securing Dick's promise to awaken them at "peep o' 
day," they were soon enjoying that refreshing slumber 
that comes to those who spread their blankets in the open 
air, where the life-giving ozone comes with each gentle 

And, respected reader, by reason of the fact that only 
one of these four young men remained on the frontier 


of Texas to become identified with passing events, it is 
unnecessary to give a description of the three who re- 
turned with Dick the second day after their arrival. But 
for a better understanding of what follows in the rapid 
course of events during the development of Northwest 
Texas, it becomes necessary to introduce the one who 
remained, to live and work out his destiny among the 
hardy settlers, who successfully met and bravely over- 
came the difficulties that attend the settlement of a new 

Proud of his nickname, "Kentuck," and possessing all 
the activity and keen interest of a healthy young man, 
he displayed a love for adventure so characteristic of 
one born in the northeastern part of the Old Common- 
wealth, where the Ohio river winds its way through beau- 
tiful mountain scenery, and the inhabitants are the de- 
scendants of the Scotch-Irish immigrants who came from 
the mountain homes across the sea to build new homes 
in the mountains of Kentucky, where the great forests, 
overhanging cliffs and bubbling springs invited them to 
congenial surroundings: ''Here among his native hills, 
Kentuck grew to young ' manhood, under the guiding 
care of a noble father and a pious mother, who were too 
practical to Understand the artistic and poetic nature of 
their son wh.*n "he wasted much valuable time with pen 
and pencil instead .'of l folio mvg ; useful trade or 
occupation. Consequently' that longing desire, ever pres- 
ent, never satisfied, to exercise freedom of choice, led 
Kentuck to escape parental restraint and journey to 
Texas. Of medium height and slender build, his buoyant 
spirits and optimisitic views, and the possession of com- 
mon sense to practice tact and adaptability in harmony 
with his environments, proved a valuable passport to the 
friendship of the frontier people. 


As per agreement, Dick aroused the four young men 
from their slumbers when the first streaks of dawn began 
to tinge the eastern sky. 

After a brief consultation they decided to climb the 
hill near the fort before sunrise, that they might catch all 
the effects of the lights and shades of the new-born day, 
as it emerged from the mysterious depths of the night. 

Leaving Dick to care for the camp and cook break- 
fast, Kentuck and his companions crossed the Clear Fork 
on a causeway of rocks that afforded facilities for pedes- 
trians when the water was low, and walked up Griffin 
avenue to Government Hill, before any of the inhabitants 
of the Flat were awake. The jumble of houses on either 
side of the street could not be dignified by the name of 
town, but should more properly be designated as a tem- 
porary group of houses to meet the emergency of a de- 
mand for shelter for the men who made the Flat a resort. 
These people cared nothing for their personal appear- 
ance, much less for the art of town building. 

Instead of following the approach to the fort, Ken- 
tuck and his companion^ ascended -the hill to a point of 
observation to the, left- of the m.i r li , pary : reservation, where 
an unobstructed View was presented of the fort, the Flat 
and the valley of the Clear Fork. 

And now,'. reader, if you have any' curiosity that will 
lead you to investigate, ; take a'fn&p cf-l'exas and trace a 
due west line from Dallas county until you find the county 
of Shackelford, then the last organized county in the tier, 
and to which all unorganized counties were attached for 
judicial purposes. Near the center of Shackelford is 
located the county seat town of Albany. Due north from 
Albany is located Fort Griffin, on the banks of the Clear 
Fork, the central supply point of the great cattle range 
that furnished the ranchmen 300 miles distant. Here, 


too, the "chuck" wagons on the overland trail from 
Southern Texas replenished their stores, and the buffalo 
hunters loaded their wagons with ammunition and pro- 

The importance of the position was recognized by the 
United States government and the State of Texas, both 
quartering troops here. 

Consequently it can easily be recognized what an im- 
portant part Fort Griffin played in the history of Texas j 
during the '70s and '8os, and that the reminiscences of 
those days have a value far beyond their recital in this 

Fort Griffin, during this period of its existence, quar- ^ 
tered seven companies of United States troops com- 
manded by General Buell. 

The town known as the Flat surrounded the base of 
Government Hill and was the central trading point for P 
the cattlemen 200 miles west. It was also headquarters 
for an army of buffalo hunters and the intermediate 
supply point on the overland cattle trail between South- 
ern Texas and the Kansas feeding pens, before offering 
them for sale in the St. Louis and Chicago markets. 

Situated sixty miles from any other settlement, the ^ 
fort formed a nucleus around which flourished the most 
notorious town in the "Wild West." 

To these four young men, who for the first time had 
ventured beyond the confines of civilization, it was like 
entering a new world. 

From their position on the top of the hill they secured 
an excellent view of the surrounding country, and also 
looked down upon the irregular mass of business houses, v 
restaurants, saloons, dance halls, wagon yards, and all 
other kinds of habitations growing out of the necessities 
of the situation. And this place had the reputation of 
being the fastest town on the frontier. 


Outside of the town in every direction the country was 
uninhabited. Off to the south and southeast bunches 
of cattle were grazing on last year's crop of grass that 
retained some of its nutritious virtues, and was the only 
provender that sustained animal life during the winter 
months on the range. 

Near a water hole in the valley at the foot of the hill 
a trail wagon outfit loaded with buffalo hides was camped 
— three wagons coupled together and drawn by fifteen 
pair of oxen when in motion, but now leisurely grazing 
near camp while the teamster and his help were cooking 
their breakfast. 

When they had come in sight of Fort Griffin the even- 
ing before, Dick had informed them that this was the last 
white man's habitation going west toward the New Mex- 
ico line, but. they had not realized the significance of the 
announcement until now, as they stood there in the early 
morning light, and saw the gray curtain of dawn pushed 
aside by the first rays of the sun. 

They were now in the center of that great open range 
that belonged to the cattle barons by right of possession. 
All of this vast country was the spoils of conquest from 
the Indians and Mexicans. The ranchman could ride 
over his free range, whose imaginary boundaries were 
always respected by his neighbors, who demanded a like 
privilege for themselves. Primitive and rough, but an 
ideal life they lived in the pure open air on the prairie, 
camping wherever night overtook them. 

No wonder that they were happy and grew rich under 
the healthy conditions surrounding them. With a brac- 
ing atmosphere and feasting on a choice buffalo hump 
or the roasted ribs of a fat maverick, the physical man 
developed all his animal strength, notwithstanding he 
smoked quantities of strong tobacco. And, then to roll 



up in their blankets with their heads upon their saddles 
for a pillow, dream strange dreams of another life, where 
smiling faces with rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes beck- 
oned them on to domestic bliss. Yes, it was an ideal life, 
and he who would molest or make them afraid must needs 
have more men and better guns. 

And now the fort awoke from its all night slumber, 
and Old Glory unfolded its bright colors as the sunrise 
gun boomed forth on the crisp air. Soldiers rushed from 
their quarters to the parade ground as the bugler sounded 
the call. 

By this time the Flat at the foot of the hill showed 
signs of a busy day, and a confusion of sounds left no 
doubt that even in this oasis of the Texas frontier com- 
mercialism was the dominant power that ruled. 

Yes, their walk from camp to Government Hill had 
been worth while, and Kentuck and his companions found 
that there was something doing in the Flat. 

The one long street, from the foot of the hill through 
the town to .the crossing of the Clear Fork, was alive 
with men and horses and in many places near the supply *" 
stores wagons were jammed together in a way that 
almost stopped travel. 

As these four young men, standing there in the early 
morning of their first day on the extreme frontier of 
Texas, looked down upon this wonderful picture, it re- 
quired a great effort to realize their surroundings. 

The sun was mounting a clear sky and his effulgent 
rays lighted up a scene never to be forgotten. 

Off to the right of the town they could see their own 
camp, and a half mile below the Tonkawa tepees in an / 
irregular group under the pecan trees, and their gaunt, 
wiry ponies grazing near by. This was Chief Johnson's 
camp, the leader of the government scouts, always called 



into service when a detachment of troops were sent out 
after hostile bands of Comanches, whose moonlight raids 
terrorized the white settlements. 

On this particular morning while the young men were 
near the fort, the chief and a band of painted warriors 
passed by, to respond to a summons from the "White 
Chief." They were decked out in all the gaudy trappings 
that their savage pride could devise. 

Not far behind the Indians came a bunch of cowboys 
from a near-by ranch who had spent a night of carousal 
in the dance halls and saloons and were now making 
an early start for home before the range boss sent in a 
courier to round them up. They rode in that careless, 
bravado style that belongs to the plainsmen who make 
their home in the saddle. There was a devil-may-care 
expression on their countenances as they passed by and 
shouted : 

"Howdy, tenderfoot! When did you stray from the 
home range ?" 

After this interruption the young men again turned 
their attention to the increasing activity in the Flat. 

All the space not occupied by houses was covered with 
' ricks of buffalo hides, representing the winter's hunt, 
ready to be transported to Dallas, Denison or Fort 
Worth, 150 to 200 miles distant. 

By reason of the condition that brought Fort Griffin 
into existence it formed an attraction for all kinds and 
character of men, each in his own way striving to make 
money ; some honestly, many dishonestly. 

The jolly buffalo hunter and the festive cowboy were 
fleeced of their last dollar by the gamblers and sharpers, 
and saw their wages "go glimmering like a schoolboy's 
dream," leaving nothing but an uncomfortable feeling 
and empty pockets. 


It was the palmy days of Fort Griffin, when money 
flowed like water through the avenues of business, and 
men handled it with the same careless indifference that 
merchants handled bacon, flour and potatoes. Not hun- 
dreds but thousands of dollars changed hands each day. 
And one day spent in the Flat, and one night among the 
denizens who frequented the resorts, would convince any 
man that it was not a question of price, but whether the 
supply would hold out. 

"Well," said Kentuck, as he looked down at the motley 
throng, "if I were searching the universe to verify the 
characters represented in dime novels, I would go no 

After lingering until the sun was three hours above 
the eastern horizon, on his way toward the noonday 
division of time, Kentuck led the way down the hill on 
the journey back to camp. 

As they passed along the avenue, here and there were 
Uncle Sam's boys in blue, loitering among the throng 
with that sang-froid of the trained soldier, who cares 
little for the conventionalities of civil life. 

Dick was in a bad humor over the delay and had 
everything packed into the wagon and the horses har- 
nessed ready to drive into the town. 

"You are a nice set of jays, ar'n't you? I call it real 
shabby treatment to ask a gent to cook a warm breakfast 
and then go snoozing around until everything is as cold 
as a dog's nose. Oh, you'll get a breakfast here, I don't 
think ! So jump right in and we are off. No back talk, 
if you please. I'm as mad as a wet hen." 

And there was no back talk, for what's the use trying 
to argue with a man when he has made up his mind not 
to hear you ? The boys jumped in and Dick cracked his 
whip viciously as they forded the Clear Fork. Covered 


wagons being the means of transportation in those days, 
the four young men and their guide were given but little 
attention as they drove through this busy mart to the 
supply store at the foot of Government Hill. 

After seven days overland from Fort Worth they had 
arrived at the end of their journey, and the contract with 
Dick for his services and the use of his wagon and team 
was complete. They had now arrived at their destina- 
tion. Two weeks of jolly comradeship, with the wagon 
performing the double service of shelter and transporta- 
tion, had cemented a bond of friendship that made them 
give more than a passing thought to the future. Not a 
word had been spoken by a member of the party during 
their long journey, looking ahead beyond their point of 
destination. Dick having fulfilled his contract, proposed 
to rest over a day and return East. This decision neces- 
sitated a hurried consultation of the four young men, 
and, from the vexed expression on each face, it appeared 
a difficult problem to solve. Finally they agreed to leave 
it an open question until the next morning, when Dick 
was directed to call for an answer, whether they would 
remain or return the route they came. 

When Dick pulled up in front of Conrad & Rath's big 
supply store, an obliging clerk, dressed in a blue flannel 
shirt, ducking overalls, top boots and a broad-brimmed 
hat, introducing himself as George Wilhelm, kindly di- 
rected Kentuck and his companions to a low, rambling 
picket house, where he informed them they could be 
accommodated with "chuck" (something to eat) and a 
place to spread their blankets upon the floor. Following 
directions, they secured lodgings ; then, giving way to 
natural curiosity, they started out on a tour of observa- 
tion, notwithstanding Hank Smith, the obliging landlord, 
told them that it was the time of the day when there was 
nothing doing. 


Consequently, beyond the novelty and newness of the 
situation, they discovered nothing very exciting in their 
rounds, and, becoming weary walking, they returned to 
the platform in front of the supply store and stood 
watching the cowboys and buffalo hunters going in and 
out, buying the necessaries for ranch and camp. 

While thus peacefully occupied, with no thought or 
premonition of danger, there came a sudden interruption, 
like the swoop of a Kansas cyclone, and these four "ten- 
derfeet" were treated to a Western transformation scene 
that made each particular hair on their heads rise up in 

Out of a near-by saloon door there came staggering 
into the street a heavy-set, bow-legged terror of the most 
approved "Wild West" type, with all of his beastly, sav- 
age nature predominating. His Mexican sombrero rested 
upon the back of his head, revealing his vicious face, 
over which locks of his unkempt hair straggled, giving 
him the appearance of a bull on a rampage. He was en- 
veloped in the disorder of a mixed costume, that in 
comparison, would put "Buffalo Bill's" cowboys out of 
commission. The high pointed heels of his cowboy boots 
were ornamented with Mexican spurs, the rowels two 
inches in diameter, that rolled along the ground with a 
clatter that always attracted attention. And, as he sham- 
bled along, he rocked like a ship in a choppy sea. It 
would have been difficult to have poised upon those stilted 
heels when duly sober, much less with a full load of 

But the most disquieting thing to these four young 
men was the belt of cartridges and two six-shooters 
around his waist. And he was not long in putting his 
artillery into action. 

Pirouetting into the middle of the street he gave a 


piercing yell, resembling a combination warwhoop and 
steam whistle. 

"I'm the 'Bad Man from Bitter creek/ Higher up the 
creek you go, the bigger they grow, and I'm right off the 
head waters — ( bang ! — bang — bang — bang ! ! ! ) Turn 
your wolf loose — (bang — bang — bang! ! !)" The roar of 
his six-shooters was almost drowned by a series of sav- 
age yells. 

The effect on the "tenderfeet" was startling indeed. 
In fact, they stampeded, in anticipation of the wholesale 
slaughter of all who were within range of those deadly- 
looking guns. It was sure a nerve-racking situation for 
strangers, and proved too much for Kentuck and his 
companions, who made a dash for the door of the supply 
store, where they hoped to escape from this savage ogre. 
But the obliging clerk, who stepped aside to permit them 
to enter, did not in the least seem excited over the affair, 
nor did it disturb the routine of business in the store, 
notwithstanding these inexperienced young men had 
never seen so much unadulterated cussedness compressed 
into a human tornado. 

This episode proved a crucial moment in the lives of 
these four young men, who unconsciously made a deci- 
sion that controlled their destinies the rest of their lives. 

"There comes marshal Bill Gilson," some one re- 
marked when the strangers recovered from their aston- 

"That fellow," pointing to the Terror of the West, 
"will soon be playing checkers with his nose through the 
bars of the calaboose." 

"You don't mean to say," said Kentuck, "that one man 
will capture so ferocious an animal as that without assist- 

"Wait and see," said George Wilhelm, pointing to 


where a man came leisurely up the sidewalk, making his 
way toward the scene of the disturbance. 

Proceedings were growing very interesting to Ken- 
tuck and his friends, who were watching the maneuvers 
of the marshal and this "ring-tailed tooter" from Bitter 

Judge of their surprise when the marshal walked up to 
this wild man, and instead of a bloody encounter he 
grasped him by the collar with one hand and shoved a 
pistol in his face with the other. 

"Give up those shooting-irons, Bud, and come along 
with me to the calaboose." 

The change that came over the countenance of the 
Terror of the West would have been a credit to Alf. 
Burnett, or any facial showman. His under jaw ap- 
peared to unhinge from its socket, while his eyes rolled 
up in amazement, and his six-shooters slipped from his 
grasp as if his hands were paralyzed. 

Turning to Wilhelm, Kentuck remarked, "Can such 
things be, and overcome us like a summer cloud, with- 
out our special wonder?" 

"Yes," he replied, "he is one of those toughs escaped 
from justice in the older States, who assume the role of 
a cowboy and bring disgrace on the calling. If you 
decide to remain and become a citizen of this part of 
Texas, you will soon learn that a few bad men in any 
community are sufficient to damn all its citizens in the 
eyes of the people in the East. You will also learn 
that, with these few exceptions, you have never lived 
among a braver and more kind-hearted people." 

Though little was said during the remainder of the 
day relative to the incident at the supply store, it was evi- 
dent that it had made a deep impression on Kentuck's 
three companions, for it required only the additional ex- 



perience of the night to decide them to return with Dick 
on the morrow. 

But Kentuck, who came from the mountain region of 
his native State, loved the freedom of frontier life, 
and decided to remain. 

As soon as the shades of night began to settle o'er the 
town, sounds of music were heard in those dens of 
iniquity where "Mephisto" could not have improved much 
on the conditions ; where "wine and women" reigned 
supreme. His satanic majesty, when he held high car- 
nival in the region of the damned, could not surpass 
the scenes in a frontier dance hall. 

The ribald sport rarely ended until the streaks of 
dawn appeared in the East; then like the coyotes that 
made the night hideous with their yelping, the inmates 
of these dance halls disappeared, and nothing more was 
heard or seen of them until night once more threw her 
sable mantle over mother earth. 

Among this conglomerate mass of dare-devil reckless- 
ness and cunning viciousness there were a few brave and 
true men, risking their lives in a determined effort to lay 
the foundation for legitimate business enterprises. They 
were largely composed of bright young men from the 
crowded districts in the old home State, or some unfortu- 
nate business man who came to grief in some speculative 
venture, and came to the frontier to begin to retrieve his 
losses and make a new home for his family. They were 
willing to undertake the hardships and brave the dangers 
of pioneer life that they might secure the reward of in- 
creased values. Consequently, the history of ranch and 
range on the frontier of Texas during the '70s and '80s 
would be as interesting reading and as voluminous as the 
stories of those famous days of California in '49. 

But pardon this digression and let us not lose sight of 


Kentuck and his companions, who were spending their 
first night in the Flat. 

Under the protecting care of Wilhelm and the mar- 
shal, they made the rounds of four dance halls, eight 
saloons and three gambling den's. 

It was a revelation that taxed their credulity, not- 
withstanding their experience of the early evening. In 
the glare of lamplight half drunk men and abandoned 
women were whirling around the dingy rooms of the 
dance halls, while musicians were trying to pound har- 
mony out of broken-down pianos with squeaky fiddle 

In each of these halls the bars were near the entrance, 
to accommodate the spectators, who were given seats in 
front, that they might see but not interfere with the 

Cowboys, hunters and soldiers, all booted, spurred 
and armed, waiting their turn to engage in this hilarious 
sport, for as a matter of business the proprietors required 
the women to change partners at the end of each dance. 

From the raised platform of the musicians the profes- 
sional caller prompted the dancers: 

"Gents, secure your partners for the next dance. All 
ready when the band begins to play. Now you're lined 
up, toe the mark and salute your ladies. First and third 
couples forward and back ; forward again and cross over ; 
second and fourth do likewise and never stop until you are 
all over ; gents to the right and ladies to the left ; swing 
your opposite, then swing your partner ; now grand right 
and left; first and second forward and back; forward 
again and return to your places ; side couples follow their 
lead and return home; balance all, swing your partners 
and all run away. All waltz to the bar and gents treat 
your ladies. All ready for the next set." 

NV, I 


Fast and furious the sport grew as the stimulating 
effects of the whisky fired the heated blood of men and 
women as the hours passed by. 

"Come on, boys," said Wilhelm ; "the pot is simmering 
and it may boil over any minute, and we don't want to be 

"What do you mean ?" said Kentuck. 

"That whisky and shooting-irons make a dangerous 
i combination, and when you throw a lot of women in for 
v good measure there is sure to be serious trouble," re- 
plied Wilhelm. "We will have a dead man for breakfast 
in the morning, tenderfoot, and if you don't want to 
ornament a coffin, we had better hike out." 

It was 10 p. m. when the four returned to Hank 
Smith's and rolled up in their blankets. 

The cocks were crowing for midnight when the storm 
of passion broke through all restraint, and a shooting 
bee was opened by the cowboys in the red light dis- 

Kentuck and his companions were awakened out of a 
sound slumber by the first shots. And before they fairly 
realized the import of the disturbance a regular gunshot 
serenade was being pulled off. 



To have unsophisticated confidence is among the dangerous 

things ; 
The audience will loudly applaud while the fool dances and sings. 

The night's performance proved to be the last argu- 
ment necessary to convince Kentuck's three companions 
that Fort Griffin was neither a safe or desirable place 
to live. And when Dick arrived at the hotel in early 
morning he found them ready to accompany him on his 
return trip. 

But Kentuck decided to remain and cast his lot with 
the brave men who were gradually transforming the un- 
tamed West into a civilized country where men and 
women could build thrifty homes. 

And notwithstanding that it was with a feeling of sin- 
cere regret that he parted with these friends, to whom 
he became attached during their journey west, and that 
he now experienced a sense of loneliness as he saw them 
depart on their way east, he braced himself with an 
effort to face whatever the future had in store for him. 

And, oh, if some true prophet could have cast the 
horoscope of that future, no doubt Kentuck, too, might 
have weakened at the last moment and returned to his 
old home on the La Belle river, where the swift current 
floated the commerce of the mountains to the markets of 
the world, and where magnificent floating palaces carried 
travelers on an enjoyable voyage over the blue waters 
to some distant city. 



But the wisdom of the Creator has kindly veiled the 
evil and the good that lies in the path of the unknown 
future that every man must explore. Therefore the man 
from the mountains of Kentucky became a citizen of 
the prairie country of Texas. 

Remembering that about six months before his de- 
parture from his native State he had been told that an 
old schoolmate by the name of Jacobs was somewhere in 
the vicinity of Fort Griffin, Kentuck hunted up the oblig- 
ing clerk at Conrad & Rath's store and made inquiry 
relative to the whereabouts of Jacobs. 

"Say, mister — " 

"Oh, shucks, my name isn't mister — only plain George, 
with Wilhelm thrown in for good measure. What might 
your name be, stranger?" 

"Well, the boys who went back east with Dick called 
me Kentuck, but my real name is — " 

"Hold on, pard; there is no necessity of giving your- 
self away ; we don't care what your real name was before 
you came to Texas, and maybe it is not good policy, for 
some one might write back to the sheriff." 

"But, Wilhelm, you are mistaken, I — " 

"Drop it, pard ; Kentuck is good enough name to camp 
out with, and if the society of the Flat wishes to look 
up your credentials they will not take the trouble until 
after they string you up to a tree. Now can I be of any 
service to you?" 

"Well — yes, perhaps. Say, do you happen to know a 
man named Jacobs — Henry Jacobs?" 

"Do I know a man named Jacobs? Say, you are not 
an officer, are you?" 

"Of course not. Jacobs and I are old schoolmates 
from the same town in Kentucky. He came to Texas 
several years ago, and about six months past some one 
received a letter from him mailed at this place." 


"Well, may I be pitched over the river by a bucking 
broncho if that don't cinch it. Yes, Jacobs is here as 
big as life, trying to hold down the job of sheriff, but 
it seems too big for one man to tackle." 

"Where can I find him, Wilhelm?" 

"Well, you are a tenderfoot, all right. Find Jacobs? 
Say, pard, you bunk with me tonight. Jacobs is on the 
hike somewhere after a bunch of cattle rustlers." 

"By himself?" 

"Oh, no; there are a dozen cattlemen with him, and 
if they capture the rustlers they will return soon." 

"Who will return?" 

"Why, the sheriff and the cattlemen. Now make your- 
self at home. We will go down to Uncle Billy Wilson's 
for dinner. If you intend to live out here with the boys 
it is necessary to start off on the right foot. Now, 
Uncle Billy runs the swell eating joint in the Flat, and 
if you are going to be social I'll introduce you to the 
aristocratic circle of long-horns, who are very particular 
about the pedigree of a new comer." 

Of course this conversation was not calculated to make 
Kentuck entirely at his ease, for the half jocular manner 
of Wilhelm was not altogether proof of his sincerity. 
Nevertheless, he then and there made up his mind to 
accept the situation, even if his ignorance subjected him 
to the ridicule of the long-horns. 

Uncle Billy's house was not only a popular eating re- 
sort, but also the stage stand on the overland trail to 
El Paso. And be it said to the credit of Uncle Billy and 
his wife, both man and beast were comfortably quartered 
and fed, notwithstanding the appearance from the out- 
side was not inviting. 

The name Wilson was misleading, for Uncle Billy was 
Irish to the core, with all the ready wit that has made 
the sons of the Emerald Isle famous. 



Wilhelm introduced Kentuck as a friend of Sheriff 

"A friend of Jacobs, is it, Georgie? Faith and he's as 
welcome as the flowers in May. Come right in, mister 
Kentuck, and mother Wilson will be after dropping a 
grain of coffee into the pot in honor of the occasion. 
And if the auld hen has been obedient to the laws of 
nature, you shall have an omelet on the side and a roast 
buffalo hump in the middle of the table. But don't yez 
soil the cloth, me boy; 'tis the only one we have, and if 
the President should arrive on the stage, divil the time 
would there be washing and ironing it." 

"Oh, Billy stop your palavering and carry the grub 
to the table, for I'm sure the gintlemen are hungry." 

"Coming, me dear, like a mountain goat down a Cali- 
fornia canyon when a grizzly is after him." 

Uncle Billy was a '49er, and never lost an opportunity 
to remind his guests of the fact. 

But, with all his faults, he was generous and whole- 
souled, and a popular character with all classes. 

The dining room of the Hotel de Wilson was long, 
with a low ceiling and dingy walls — no chairs or other 
modern furniture to add to the comfort or as an apology 
for ornamentation. Long benches met the demand for 
seating capacity to the table that occupied the center of 
the room. Even the customary hatrack was missing. 
But one soon forgot the rough appearance when seated 
around the sumptuous display of good things from 
Mother Wilson's pantry. 

The color line alone was drawn at this table, and he 
who possessed the price of a meal received accommoda- 
tion. Ranchmen, cowboys, buffalo hunters and soldiers 
met on a common level. It was a good-natured, free 
and easy crowd that lined up on either side of the long 
table when Wilhelm and Kentuck entered. 


Naturally all eyes were turned on the stranger, with 
glances both curious and critical, as if they were sizing 
him up to determine just where he would fit in. But 
Wilhelm soon relieved the situation by introducing Ken- 
tuck as an old pard of Sheriff Jacobs, just arrived from 
the "moonshine" district to escape the revenue officers 
of Uncle Sam. 

"Howdy, howdy do, Kentuck?" 

"Glad to meet you, gents," replied Kentuck. 

"Don't mention it," said several. 

"Say, you bronco busters, slide along and give Wil- 
helm and Kentuck a fair deal ; they look empty from their 
chins to their toes," remarked Mart Gentry. 

"I don't see why Conrad hasn't put Wilhelm in a cage 
and fed him on hay. He would make a drawing card 
for the Tonks," said Mike Kegan. 

"Oh, that's too easy ; the old man has caught on to the 
mutual admiration between Wilhelm and Sallie Wash- 
ington, and don't propose to give a free exhibition of the 
Pocahontas and Captain Smith act. Sabe?" said Jeff 

"I'm willing to chip in four bits to see the perform- 
ance," said Jim Browning. 

"So will I, so will I," chorused the crowd. 

"Say, you blamed galoots, close your fly-traps," re- 
torted Wilhelm. 

A general laugh followed. 

Good-natured badinage was kept up during the entire 
meal, and Kentuck soon learned to make himself easy 
among his rough-and-ready companions. Many of them 
were diamonds in the rough, that only required polish 
and setting to be gems of the first water. Their friend- 
ship was not half-hearted, but frank and generous to a 
fault, ready at all times to extend a helping hand and 


a strong arm to support and defend him when adversity 
threatened or danger menaced. 

As the days passed and he became more accustomed to 
the new conditions, Kentuck lost no opportunity to make 
friends. Consequently, before ten days had elapsed he 
gained the confidence of many of the most substantial 
citizens of the town, as well as forming a bond of com- 
radeship with the better class of cowboys on the near-by 
ranches, though not without some harrowing experiences 
at the hands of those rollicking comrades, who took a 
malicious delight in breaking in the "tenderfoot." 

As a sample of their careful attention to the strict 
rules of frontier etiquette, it is only necessary to relate 
one Sunday morning's experience. 

More through force of habit than any desire to appear 
different from established custom, Kentuck made the mis- 
take of shaving, adorning his person with a white shirt 
and blacking his boots, to say nothing of the suit of store 
clothes that defied precedent. Now if there is anything 
in this wide world that will amuse the festive cowboy 
and become a subject of derision at his hands, it is the 
man who has the hardihood to appear in the range coun- 
try dressed as above described. And it is doubtful if any 
one going through the trying ordeal of being made a tar- 
get of their sarcasm will ever repeat the experiment. 

Having no premonition of the rough treatment that 
awaited the dude "tenderfoot" from the mountains of 
old Kentucky, after carefully grooming himself the "ten- 
derfoot" walked carelessly out of doors and stood aim- 
lessly looking around, with no definite object in view. 

It is true that in a casual way he noticed a bunch of 
cowboys ride up, throw their bridle reins upon the ground 
and saunter leisurely in his direction, but not until they 
opened up the batteries of their sarcasm did Kentuck 
suspect their motive in surrounding him. 


"Say, boys, just cast your optics on this fine-haired 
cuss. Regular 'jim-dandy,' ain't he? A dude 'tender- 
foot' from societyville. Look at his boiled shirt and fried 
collar. Wonder where he keeps his pie-box? He is an 
imported shorthorn from the East. Say, boss, is that hat 
a breech-loader ? What was your name before you came 
to Texas? Guess you can get free transportation back 
home if you write to the sheriff for it, can't you ?" 

These and a similar string of questions greeted the ears 
of the bewildered Kentuck as the boys formed a closer 
circle and began to take too much liberty on short ac- 
quaintance. And not without the most severe test of his 
patience did he manage to control his anger while dirty 
fingers left their imprint upon his shirt front, changing 
it from white to a variegated brown, while the shining 
polish on his boots was covered with tobacco juice. And, 
not content with these indignities, one of the roisterers 
stepped up and lifted the derby from his head and, at a 
given signal, tossed it high in the air, each boy taking a 
shot at it, and it fell with a dozen bullet holes through it 
as a proof of excellent marksmanship. 

How long Kentuck would have been subjected to this 
rough sport had not Sheriff Jacobs come to his rescue is 
a question. But after an introduction all around to each 
of his tormenters, Kentuck was voted the freedom of* 
the Texas frontier. And from that day until this good 
hour he has never had occasion to regret his Sunday 
morning's initiation by the cowboys. 

And here let it be understood that, by common consent, 
there was an unwritten law of the frontier that did not 
permit innovations in manners or dress, but required 
strict conformity to established costume, consisting of a 
broad-brim hat, flannel shirt, ducking overalls and top 
boots. Consequently, a man dressed in the fashionable 


attire of the East attracted as much attention on the 
frontier as a cowboy would on Broadway, New York. 

From this time on, during all the years of the open 
range life in Northwest Texas, Kentuck was a welcome 
guest whenever he cared to visit the cowboys' camp. No 
matter how limited the supply of blankets, there was 
always room and a chance to be counted in when the 
cook invited the gents to step up and get their "chuck." 

But even this strong bond of friendship did not pre- 
vent some mischievous cuss from playing pranks on the 

Kentuck will not forget, so long as he is permitted to 
live, his first attempt to ride a bucking broncho. 

It was a beautiful May morning, and all the elements 
of nature seemed to invite him to the exhilarating enjoy- 
ment of a ride over the beautiful prairie, richly clad in 
its springtime garments of green and decked in the bright 
hues of purple, blue and red flowers. 

He was visiting friends at Lynch's ranch and had saun- 
tered out where Tucker and Manning were corraling a 
bunch of saddle ponies. 

Expressing a desire for a gentle pony, Tucker kindly 
volunteered to rope and saddle an old flea-bitten gray 
that looked* to be innocent of all guile, and a model for 
all ponies that take kindly to the duty of carrying a man 
on a journey of business or pleasure. But alas for the 
shattered confidence of a trusting "tenderfoot," the gen- 
tle, sleepy appearance of the old gray proved a "delusion 
and a snare," for a few moments later, when Kentuck 
was astride of the saddle and holding the reins of the 
bridle, Tucker insisted on tightening the flank-girth, and 
you ought to have seen that old "cayuse" come to life. 

Say, pard, that "outlaw" had graduated in the thirty- 
third degree as a bucker years before Kentuck had ever 


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dreamed of coming to the Lone Star State. He dropped 
his head between his fore legs and jumped stiff-legged up 
in the air, with all four feet off the ground at the same 
time, with such an impetus that Kentuck vaulted several 
feet higher, describing a semi-circle as he descended to 
the ground. 

This free performance, involuntarily given by the 
"tenderfoot," was very much appreciated by the cowboys, 
who expressed hilarious delight in describing how grace- 
fully he ascended from the saddle and turned a somer- 
sault in the air before striking the ground a few feet from 
old Gray. 

This propensity for playing pranks, even on one's best 
friend, was one of the characteristics of cowboy life. 
And the only consolation to the victim was to watch his 
opportunity to pay it back with interest. 

It was during this same visit of a few days that Ken- 
tuck had the satisfaction of witnessing the breaking in of 
another tenderfoot, known among the boys as "Tennes- 
see," who was temporarily residing in Albany, with a 
prospect of locating a drug store, and had been directed 
to consult with Judge Lynch, who was taking consider- 
able interest in building up the town, at that time con- 
sisting of three picket houses and a barnlike structure, 
by courtesy called a courthouse. The judge being absent 
from the headquarters ranch on a visit to the line 
riders' camp on North Prong, Tennessee was given di- 
rections where to find him. It was late and the sun was 
just disappearing behind the western hills when Ten- 
nessee arrived, and all hands, including the judge, were 
making preparations to hold a small herd that they were 
drifting back to the home range. As was usual on such 
occasions, arrangements were being made to hold the 
cattle under loose herd until morning, requiring a relay 


of two men on guard, to prevent them drifting back over 
the divide. 

Among the boys around the camp were several old 
range men who had engaged in many fights with the In- 
dians, who raided the frontier on moonlight nights, car- 
rying off horses and destroying personal property of the 

The stories told by these men were always a fruitful 
source from which to prepare the mind of a "tenderfoot" 
for a realistic demonstration of a midnight attack by the 
red marauders. 

The probability of these stories, backed up with cur- 
rent reports on the range, that a roving band of Coman- 
ches had passed down the old trail through Mountain 
y pass and the Gap at Leadbetter's Salt Works, as far east 
as Jacksboro, was well calculated to impress a "tender- 
foot" with the gravity of the situation, especially as this 
band was reported to be headed northwest, killing and 
scalping scattered families. 

Taking advantage of the situation, Manning and 
Tucker fixed up and played successfully a villainous 
prank upon Tennessee. 

Judge Lynch was a typical Irishman, with an inherent 
love for sport, and entered into and aided the conspiracy, 
by relating that on one occasion when in camp on the 
Clear Fork, the Indians had stampeded the horses and 
that the whole bunch ran over the boys before they could 
awake and get out of the way. 

As was customary in a cow camp, before turning in 
for the night, some of the boys circled the outskirts to 
see if the ponies were all in safe distance of the camp. 
This furnished the plotters the pretext to report Indian 
signs, and a probability of an attempt to steal the ponies 
during the night. Manning and Tucker, ringleaders 


and co-conspirators, were detailed by Judge Lynch to 
stand guard. The others were told to roll up in their 
blankets and go to sleep, as it would do no good to 
remain awake and anticipate something that might never 
happen. And notwithstanding the exciting report 
brought in by Manning after they had all retired, that 
an object had been seen moving among the trees along 
the creek, that he believed was an Indian spying out the 
situation, it was not long until the drowsy god took pos- 
session of the camp. 

Then there was something doing on North Prong that 
will never be forgotten by the man from Tennessee. 

As soon as Manning and Tucker became convinced 
that the boys in camp were all asleep, they got busy and 
began to carry out the plot by detaching the chains from 
the chuck wagon and gathering all articles of tinware 
that would make as much noise as possible. When the 
preparations were complete they made a run over the 
sleeping forms of their companions, rattling the chains 
and tinware, firing their six-shooters and shouting 
"Whoa ! whoa ! whoa ! Lookout, boys ! Here comes the 
Indians !" 

Of course, pandemonium broke loose in that cow camp. 
Everybody jumped to their feet, and amid the bewilder- 
ing confusion of the sudden onslaught, those onto the 
game grasped their six-shooters and began firing, and 
two fell to the ground, exclaiming, "I'm shot, boys I" 
In the meantime the "tenderfoot" from Tennessee sprang 
up like a "jack-in-the-box" and ran like a scared turkey. 

It was at least a half-hour before Judge Lynch could 
quiet the hilarious laughter. 

A searching party was sent out and it was more than 
an hour before the "tenderfoot" was located in a gully 
covered with undergrowth. 


It took all the persuasive powers of the entire outfit 
to induce Tennessee to return to camp. 

Then he was so badly frightened that he would not 
lie down, but spent the remainder of the night on the 

The breaking in of a "tenderfoot" was always a source 
of unbounded amusement for the cow punchers, and 
every outfit was dominated by these practical jokers, 
who rarely hesitated, even at the risk of inflicting injury 
to the victims. 

The Genuine Cow Puncher 

The language of the range was made up largely of 
localisms coined to meet the conditions of ranch life 
and the peculiarities of bufTalo hunting. 

Consequently, when Kentuck made his advent as a 
"tenderfoot" he often found himself sorely puzzled trying 
to keep in touch with the boys, who had long since grad- 
uated in the science of mixing the Spanish and Indian 
terms with the new-born words of the frontier. 

To a man possessed of a keen sense of humor, the 
conversation carried on by the cowboys or the bufTalo 
hunters furnished no end of amusement, provided you 
were a good listener and not inclined to butt in. 

This was forcibly demonstrated one morning about a 
week after Kentuck's companions had departed, leaving 
him alone to face the future. 

He was in company with Sheriff Jacobs and his 
brother John, in a little shanty on a side street leading 
to Griffin avenue. 

The arrival of a buffalo hunter named Joe McCombs, 
from the camp of Poe & Jacobs far out on the western 
range, brought forth a series of questions and answers. 

"Hello, Joe ! give us your paw, old man ; here, take a 


nip to cut the dust out of your throat. Where is your 
bronco ?" 

"Petered out near Phantom Hill, and I hoppled him, 
and I had to huff it in." 

"How are the boys in camp?" 

"So-so, on an average — plenty of chuck, but no ammu- 

"Any trouble with the renegades and Indians?" 

"Nope, not much. Little flurry last month when a 
bunch of reds broke out of the reservation corral near 
Fort Sill and came cavorting down into the Panhandle ; 
dropped a few lead pills into our camp one evening and 
tried to stampede the ponies, but Poe turned loose his 
45 and they skedaddled over the sand hills. Then a lieu- 
tenant with a bunch of buffalo soldiers rounded them up 
and drove them back to the reservation." 

"Good season, Joe?" 

"Sorter, nothing extra. Buffalo getting skittish. Hard 
to get a stand on 'em now." 

"Where is your outfit now?" 

"Over the Divide on the Deep creek of the Colorado, 
not far from Chisholm's Hole on the slant of the mesa. 
Dandy place; plenty of grass and water; oodles of tur- 
keys and deer." 

"Herds drifting?" 

"Yep, grazing north along the brakes, but shy at the 
northers on the plains." 

"When will you return?" 

"As soon as some outfit gives me a lift back to Phan- 
tom, where I can catch on to the bronc again." 

"Well, drop in for your chuck and we will furnish you 
a layout of blankets while you are in town." 

"Muy gracias, senor, I'll sure bunk with you." 

"All right, Joe ; come and go when you please, old 
man, and no questions asked." 


"You are sure sociable boys, and if you ever hit the 
range there will be a welcome waiting for you." 

"Well, I'm off for the fort. So long, Joe ; take in the 
town, old man, but don't eat any dirt." 

"You bet your life there will be something doing when 
Josephus takes in the town." 

"Well, if the marshal ropes you and leads you into 
Justice Steele's court send for me." 

"Sure thing, Jacobs." 



He unbosomed his grief and sorrow to me; 
The few that remain, the many that used to be. 

Among the many diversions that attracted Kentuck 
during his first month on the frontier of Texas, none 
awakened more interest than his visits to the Tonkawa 
village on the banks of the Clear Fork, where the rem- ** 
nant of a once powerful tribe of Indians lived. 

As far back as any of the old settlers on the frontier 
could remember, the Tonkawas (Toncahuas) had been 
the friends of the white people and the deadly enemy of \^_ 
the Yaquis, Comanches, Kickapoos, Lapans, Arapahoes, 
Apaches and Kiowas. 

During the early period when might made right among 
the red warriors, the Tonkawas was the most numerous 
and powerful tribe in Texas (Tejas) and Old Mexico, 
and were also known as cannibals, accused of killing and 
eating their prisoners. For this offense the other tribes 
allied themselves and waged a war of extermination 
against them. Very little its known of this long and 
bloody contest. But that it was carried on with relentless 
hatred and cruel vengeance is proven by the results. 
That the allied tribes were finally victorious is within 
itself evidence that in reducing the powerful Tonkawas 
to a small band of fugitives, they, too, must have suffered 
the loss of thousands of warriors. 


Like all people when defeated and humiliated, the Ton- 
kawas were very reticent when asked about the past his- 
tory of the tribe. 

And it may be that the old warriors were loth to admit 
the truth, and purposely avoided telling the younger gen- 

Be that as it may, sufficient was known to convince 
Kentuck that there was a very interesting story con- 
nected with this war, dating back beyond the time when 
the white settlers occupied the Indian country. And, 
like all information hard to obtain, it made him more 

Being convinced, after several visits, that the desired 
information was stored in the memory of Old Campo, the 
ancient Medicine Man of the tribe, reported to be no 
years old, Kentuck lost no time making a friend of the 
centenarian, who was induced to relate the legend. 

It was one of those delightful June mornings that 
made outdoor life so comfortable that nothing but press- 
ing business kept any one from enjoying the sunhine 
and bracing atmosphere. 

Old Campo had crawled out of his tepee and was 
seated upon a buffalo robe with his back against a pecan 
tree. The old warrior was enjoying his pipe, and 
seemed to gather inspiration from the wreaths of smoke 
that curled and eddied above his head. No doubt the 
genial warmth of the almost perfect day awakened the 
dormant faculties of his brain and set in motion a train 
of thought, carrying him back to the time when he was 
the great Medicine Man of the tribe, and the brave Chief 
Placido led the warriors to victory. 

The old man was day-dreaming and happily disposed 
to talk about the past. After relating a few reminis- 
cences of the pale face chiefs who commanded at Forts 


Belknap and Phantom Hill, his mind started out on the 
trail of memory, and his voice grew strong and eyes 
bright, as he related the following legend: 

"Many, many moons have come and gone since there 
was born in the wigwam of the Great Chief a boy pa- 
poose. They called him Placido, and he grew up to be 
a mighty hunter and led the young braves when they 
chased the wild horse and the buffalo on the Llano Esta- 

"And, when the winter's snow like a great white blan- 
ket covered the valleys and mountains of Tejas, my peo- 
ple crossed the Rio Grande and followed where the birds 
took their flight on their way to the warm valleys and 
bright sun spots in Mejico. But the young Chief Pla- 
cido was not content to march with the tribe on the 
trail day after day, and one morning dashed away at the 
head of his braves into the Sierra Madre mountains, 
where the black bear and cougars made their dens. And 
with their long spears and bows and arrows killed many, 
and returned with bear meat and skins to decorate the 

"The Tonkawas were like the leaves in autumn ; their 
squaws beautiful and papooses many ; their ponies swift 
as the wind and their spears long. When they went 
forth on the warpath the braves took many scalps to 
celebrate their victories. No single tribe dared to meet 
them in battle. And my people became a proud people ; 
they determined to conquer the Comanches and drive 
them out of Tejas. 

"But the Comanches were brave and cunning; always 
fight the small bands of the Tonkawas, but run away 
when the Big Chief and his braves come in sight. Then 
my people say that the Yaquis have many ponies and 
heap rich, and the chief led them down into the valleys 



among mountains where the Yaquis live ; fight a big bat- 
tle, kill many braves, carry off squaws, ponies and cattle. 
Then my people grow more proud and return to Tejas 
and drive the Kickapoos into the mountains of the West. 
They fought the Lapans and the Apaches until they 
crossed into the territory, 
ft "But the Great Spirit was not pleased with my people. 

"By and by he whispered vengeance into the ear of the 
Comanches, and they sent swift messengers down to 
the council fires of the Yaquis, and they called a pow- 
wow. And the Yaquis say, 'Yes, the Tonkawas are 
the enemy of all the other tribes in Tejas and Mejico.' 
Then the council of chiefs agree to send many warriors 
to help the allied tribes to fight the Tonkawas and sweep 
them off the face of the earth. 

"And the Comanche messenger said, 'That is very 
good, and I will return to my chief, tell him to call a 
great council meeting and invite the Apaches, the Kio- 
was, the Kickapoos and the Lapans to come to one great 
powwow.' Then for three moons the swift messengers 
of the Comanches like wings of the wind went from tribe 
to tribe, until the chiefs all agreed to meet in the valley 
pi the upper Rio Grande, where the Guadalupe moun- 
tains lift their heads high above the plains. 
• "But the Tonkawas no listen to the voice of the Great 
Spirit that talks in the lightning and thunder. Chief 
Placido and the war chiefs no hear the soft foot of the 
Comanche messenger, as he carried the pledges of ven- 
geance among the enemies of my people. 

"The Tonkawas loved to hunt and fish and to feast ; to 
make merry and enjoy the good things of life. Their 
papooses played all day under the pecan trees where the 
clear water reflected their smiling faces. The young 
squaws gathered the wild flowers on the prairies to weave 


0&*-< ■■•- 



them into garlands for their hair. The old squaws sat 
near the wigwams in the shade of the trees and made k' 
moccasins for the warriors. The old men of the tribe 
told of the mighty deeds v/hen they used to hunt and' 
fight. All day long the young braves followed the eagle 
feathers of Chief Placido as he chased the wild horses 
up the Great Divide to the pass in the mountains, where ^ 
the cedar trees hang over the high rocks, and far away 
on the other side the cottonwoods grow by the winding 
river. Then when the great light of day was painting 
the western sky in many colors, the Chief turned the 
head of his pony toward the camp, and led his braves 
back over the trail as the evening shadows lengthened, 
and the stars came out one by one from the depth of blue 
to listen to the mocking birds singing in the tree-tops, 
as they rode home from the chase. Then the warriors 
feasted on roast buffalo meat and smoked their pipes 
around the fire, while the young boys and maidens played 
at making war, and told how they would kill and scalp 
all the bad Indians that dared to dispute the Tonkawas r 
right to hunt and fish in Tejas. 

"But very soon the season was growing old and the 
winter not far away, and Placido called a council of his 
wise men who smoked and talked many hours, and when 
they arose to go to their tepees, Placido say it will be 
a cold winter and the Tonkawas must have heap big * 
store of dried buffalo meat before they cross the Rio 
Grande and go down into the land where the sun shines 
and the water never freezes. 

"So one bright morning when the dew was sparkling 
on the grass my people folded up their tepees, packed 
their ponies and marched away with their heads turned 
toward the northwest, where many thousand buffalo eat 
the grass and grow fat on the Llano Estacado, near the 
Palo DurO Canyon. 


"Two moons had come and gone when my people came 
in sight of the great canyon of the north, where the 
plains drop down into the valley and the water runs 
through the big rocks. 

"Within a sheltered cove near the canyon's walls my 
people camped. The braves went forth and killed many 
buffalo and the squaws cut the meat into long strips 
and hung it on poles to dry. But now the hosts of 
Diablo hovered over the canyon, waiting to devour the 
. Tonkawa tribe. And the Great Spirit hid his face and 
would not warn them, and my people marched down into 
the peaceful valley with light hearts, glad to come to the 
end of their long journey. 

"Here they hoped to rest, sleep and be happy. They 
had seen no signs of an enemy and no cause to fear one. 
The Chief and all his warriors were lulled into lazy 
security and dreamed not of the avenger that hid in the 
sand hills beyond the canyon walls, waiting until the 
night bird sang to the moon. 

"The sun had traveled his path across the heavens 
and was sending his last golden rays to paint the tops 
of the mountains. One by one the warriors came strag- 
gling through the narrow opening at the top of the 
canyon, and made their way to the camp in the valley 

"With no thought of danger hanging over the edge of 
the canyon walls, the whole tribe began preparations for 
the night. Ponies were unpacked, tepees set up and 
camp fires lighted. 

"One by one the stars came forth, and the dying moon 
lifted her head above the horizon, lingered a while, then 
dropped out of sight. 

"The fatigue of the last days of the journey had its 
effect, and the god of sleep touched the eyelids of the 


warriors, squaws and papooses, and the whole camp was 
soon lost in that mysterious land of dreams. 

"Not a single watchman was placed on guard that 
night, and the Tonkawa camp was left to the vengeance 
of the foe. 

"The blue blaze of the dying fires flickered as the star- 
lit darkness settled o'er the whole scene. The Tonkawas 
were sleeping — the allied foe was awake. 

"It was past midnight when ghostly figures began to 
appear at the mouth of the pass that led to the valley 
below. One — three — ten — twenty — one hundred — five 
hundred — one thousand silent warriors, followed by as 
many more, stole quietly down through the opening in /' 
the canyon wall, completely shutting off all avenues of 
escape. Up where the sky line defined the canyon wall 
hundreds of feathered heads could be seen taking position 
where they could send a shower of arrows into the Ton- 
kawa camp. 

"Not a sound broke the stillness of the night, and my 
people slumbered on, unconscious of the dreadful awak- 
ening in the dawning of a new day. 

"The hours dragged on and the gray streaks began 
to appear in the East, broadening each moment as the 
sun approached the horizon. 

"Objects began to be seen, at first indistinctly, then 
assuming shape until the whole camp came into view. 

"A Tonkawa warrior arose unsteadily from his blan- 
kets and yawned, as he tried to shake off the stupor of 
sleep. He looked out over the silent camp, then his gaze 
wandered to the steep trail down the canyon wall — 
something unnatural appeared in the opening. He rubbed 
his eyes, then shaded them with his hand. He saw a mass 
of feathered heads and bristling spears. He looked to 
the top of the steep walls — was he dreaming? No, there 


was a fringe of feathers behind a row of drawn bows — 
the shadow of death hung o'er the Tonkawa camp. 

"As he realized the truth the warrior threw his head 
back and uttered the well-known warwhoop of his tribe. 

"This proved to be the signal for the attack from the 
allied foe. 

"A flight of arrows came from the canyon walls, and 
many a sleeping warrior and his squaw were pierced 
through before they could respond to the brave's war- 

"Surprise turned the camp into confusion, and hun- 
dreds were killed before Chief Placido could rally a 
band of faithful warriors. 

"The battle of extermination was being fought, and 
nothing could save my people. 

"Many times the brave Placido led his warriors in a 
dashing charge against the massed enemy at the foot of 
the pass, but they were repulsed with great slaughter. 
In the meantime the never-ceasing shower of arrows 
from the canyon's wall was covering the ground with 
the dead and wounded. 

"The brave Placido saw his people hopelessly defeated 
and being slaughtered without mercy. He knew no 
quarter would be shown. His enemies had entrapped 
him. The last hope of defending them was gone. He 
called a hasty council and selected 300 of his bravest 
warriors to make the last dash for freedom. He also 
selected 100 squaws and placed them in the center of the 
little band. Then putting his little son, Peta Nocona, 
on his war horse behind him, he formed his band in the 
shape of a wedge, and charged down the canyon like a 
thunderbolt. The force of the charge drove the wedge- 
shaped band through the enemy's lines, and Placido, 200 
warriors and fifty squaws escaped on their ponies and fled 


across the plains to Blanco canyon. The remainder of 
the tribe was slaughtered, and not one escaped to tell 
of the terrible massacre." 

This battle ground where over 2,000 Tonkawas were 
killed was what might be termed a pocket in the side of 
the Palo Duro canyon, admirably adapted by nature for 
an ambuscade. 

The canyon proper is a large chasm nearly 100 miles 
long, and from one-half to two miles wide. The preci- 
pices are, in many places, from 300 to 1,500 feet deep. & 
For sixty miles there is only one crossing for wagons, 
and this proved to be the tragic key to the Tonkawa bat- 
tle of extermination. 

A stranger can travel over that treeless stretch of the 
Staked Plains, among the sand hills and soft buffalo grass C^ 
and never suspect the existence of this great canyon. 
The break would not be seen until his horses were within 
a few feet of the edge. Then when he looked over he 
would view a most wonderful scene. He would see be- 
tween the walls, a river, a meadow and a pine forest in 
this wonderland. 

No doubt some writers of Texas history have mixed 
the data of the slaughter of the Tonkawas in Palo Duro p» 
canyon with the massacre of the Apaches by the Pueblos 
in a cavern in the Waco mountains. 

After the slaughter of the Tonkawas in Palo Duro 
canyon, Placido and his little band fled to the government 
posts for protection, and thereafter remained true to the 
white settlers. In the year 1876, when Kentuck and his 
companions arrived at Fort Griffin, the tribe numbered 
about 150, all told. All the young men under the command v 
of Chief Johnson were employed by the government as 
scouts. No expedition sent out after the hostile Co- 
manches was complete without Chief Johnson and his 


scouts. The remainder of the tribe, made up of the 
old men and the squaws, camped under the protecting 
guns of the fort. As a rule, the members of the tribe 
i were lousy and filthy, content to beg and steal. The men 
\ drank fire water when they could get it, and the squaws 
were low down in the moral scale. Of course, there were 
a few individual exceptions, and two were Jenne and 
Louita, the granddaughters of the old Chief Placido. 

Jenne was a comely squaw, and always went decked 
yout in all the Indian finery appropriate to her position 
as belle of the tribe. 

There also lived in Fort Griffin a romantic youth 
named John Black, a druggist's clerk, who was not only 
romantic by nature, but had read ten-cent novels until 
/ his mind was fertile ground for the cultivation of wild 
ideas. And the first seed that found lodgment in his 
brain was an infatuation for the squaw Jenne. 

After a brief courtship of two or three weeks young 
Black and Jenne were married according to the Indian 
rites, and Black degenerated into a blanket Indian, drop- 
ping as low in the scale of humanity as possible, even to 
the extent of being shunned by the tribe. 

When the government post was abandoned at Fort 
Griffin in the year of 1883, the Tonkawas were removed 
to a reservation in the Indian Territory, Black and Jenne 
going with them, the family having increased by the birth 
of three children. 

The Tonkawas, like all Indians, depended upon signs 
and omens to direct them in all the affairs of life, attrib- 
uting success and defeat to the manifestations of the 
Great Spirit, in the changes of the elements and actions 
of animals. And, the writer believes, that the greatest 
mistake the government ever made in its Indian policy 
was, to consider the traditions, beliefs and customs of 

■^^.,;i: :.':■• 



the North American Indian of too little consequence. 
Those who have come in contact with our red brother 
know that he is a zealot in belief and a fanatic in prac- 
tice. Living close to nature, and relying upon the signs, 
omens and warnings of the sky, sea and forest, he, was 
intensely emotional and could be won or offended by what 
we consider trivial matters. 

A convincing illustration of this trait of the Indian 
character was given the first week in June, 1876, when 
the Tonkawas broke up their camp near the crossing in ^ 
the valley of the Clear Fork and moved to the table land 
on the high rocky hills. White men noticing the change 
of base, asked Old Charley why the Tonks moved. 

His reply was characteristic: "Heap big water coming; 
cover all the valley for many miles ; Indian no like heap 
big water ; Indian move." 

The white man laughed and the Indian shrugged his 
shoulders, but the flood came on the 26th day of the 
month, and all the valleys of that section became roaring 
torrents, sweeping the debris of half a century down 
the river toward the sea. 

The water ran four feet deep through the streets of ^ 
the Flat and washed the base of Government Hill, melt- 
ing down adobe houses and carrying off shanties along ^ 
the banks of Collin's creek. 

So sudden was the rise that a great wall of water came 
sweeping around the bend, north of the fort and engulfed 
a six-mule team, drowning the driver and General Burn's 
son, together with all the mules harnessed to the wagon. 

Many people, forced to leave their houses, climbed 
trees, and in these uncomfortable positions were com- 
pelled to remain through a dark, stormy night. 

Never before or since, within the knowledge of white 
men, has so great a flood of water visited the Fort Griffin 


It was several weeks before the sun and wind dried 
the valleys sufficient to permit the Tonkawas to return 
to the site of their village and pitch their tepees. 

When the country was once more in its normal condi- 
tions, and all the avenues of business prospering, the 
forecast of Old Charley was remembered, and Kentuck 
asked him how he knew that "heap big water" was 

The old warrior replied that when the prairie dogs 
ran from hole to hole barking, and all came out and 
scampered away to the hills, and the rabbits and snakes 
deserted their holes and vamoosed, that it was time for 
the Indians to pull up their tepees and move to higher 

There are a few white men, who live in the wilds close 
to nature, who can determine important issues, and even 
shape their own destinies, by watching the movements of 
the lower animals. Especially was this true in the early 
history of mankind, before philosophers and scientists dis- 
credited nature. 

And may it not be that while we have gained much, we 
have lost many a simple truth that was a surer guide to 
health and happiness than arguments of learned profes- 



Low down cussedness, adulterated with the essence of the devil, 
Brings all "wild and woolly" citizens to the same low down level. 

Bill Hitson was cinching up his pony one morning in 
front of the old Adobe saloon, preparatory to returning 
to his ranch in Palo Pinto county. 

"I'll be durned if I can sabe where all these galoots 
come from who hang around the Flat." 

Though his remark was more forcible than elegant, he 
voiced a condition of mystery hard to solve. 

No one knew, and few cared to know, the antecedents 
of the hundred or more worthless characters around the 
saloons and dance halls, that seemed to be nothing more 
than human driftwood. Their mission in life seemed to 
be confined to begging and stealing, when not employed 
by bolder rascals. 

But it was not the sneaking hangers-on to the ragged 
edge that Hitson referred to. His remarks designated 
the bold, dashing, reckless gambler, and the all-around 
sportsman who plunged into the vortex of dissipation, 
lived like a lord and generally died with his boots on. 

This class was known as the "wild and woolly" deni- 
zens of the Flat, and in company with reckless cow 
punchers could raise more hell in a single night than 
the sheriff and the coroner were able to attend to the 
next day. 

The prodigal liberality of these men made them gen- 
eral favorites, especially among the tradesmen, saloon- 


men and keepers of resorts. And they generally had 
free right-of-way, except when they ran counter to the 
reckless cow punchers, who liked nothing better than a 
shooting bee when they were loaded with bad whisky. 

Each one of these local characters had a paramour 
as wild and reckless as her consort, ready and willing to 
aid him in any desperate scheme that promised excite- 
ment and profit. 

To better understand the situation that confronted 
Kentuck when he made his advent on the frontier and 
took up his temporary abode in the Flat, it will be nec- 
essary to give the readers a brief sketch of a few notori- 
ous characters who lived and flourished off the proceeds 
of their wits, and boasted of their skill in the art of de- 
ception. The reckless boldness of these individuals 
brought them under discussion, even among the denizens 
of the Flat, who considered such eccentricities as drink- 
ing to excess, cussing with vehemence and shooting on 
slight provocation, personal privileges not subject to 

But notwithstanding this general acceptation of per- 
sonal freedom, there were some who were glaring ex- 
ceptions, transcending all right granted by common con- 

Lottie Deno 

Prominent among the wild, dare-devil, reckless char- 
acters who frequented the resorts in the Flat, was a fe- 
male monstrosity known by the name of Lottie Deno. 
Lottie exhibited all the traits of a refined, educated wom- 
an, who had been nurtured in high society and was a 
gentlewoman by birth, yet an associate member of the 
gambling fraternity, who, night after night, assembled 
in the rooms over a saloon and played for high stakes. 


Otherwise, Lottie held herself aloof from the revel and 
debauchery that surrounded her. 

This woman was one of Fort Griffin's mysteries. She 
arrived one evening on the Jacksboro stage, sitting upon 
the driver's seat beside Dick Wheeler. And from the 
day of her advent to the time of her departure three 
years later, she hid her identity in the seclusion of a little 
shanty on the outskirts of the town, refusing to receive 
any visitors, male or female, and only appearing in pub- 
lic when she desired to enter the gambling rooms. 

Strange stories were told about Lottie by those who 
knew the least, but some credence attached to the report 
that this strange woman lived a dual life of a saint in 
the East and a desperate character in the West. 

It was said that money was sent to aid an invalid 
mother in her New England home and to pay the tuition 
of a sister at a fashionable boarding school, who never 
dreamed that it was tainted. 

Lottie Deno was an attractive, medium-sized woman, 
with an abundance of dark, red hair and black, sparkling 
eyes. She always appeared well dressed and walked with 
the air of a perfect lady. 

And, strange to relate, she was present during many a 
rough house, saw the flash of the deadly six-shooters and 
heard the oaths of the men in desperate conflict, but it 
did not drive her from the scene, though when the smoke 
cleared away there were dead men lying in pools of blood 
near the card tables. 

Kentuck was told that there was a shooting affray over 
Wilson & Matthews' saloon one October night. 

The gambling hall was crowded with the local sports, 
who were attracted by the announcement of a poker game 
between "Monte Bill," the Arizona sharp, and "Smoky 
Joe," the Texas expert. 


Lottie occupied a seat at a near-by table, playing in a 
game with a fifty-dollar limit. 

All interest centered around the game where "Monta 
Bill" and "Smoky Joe" were pitted against each other. 
Five hundred dollars was in the pot and the other play- 
ers dropped out. "Monta" challenged "Smoky" to raise 
the limit. "Smoky" agreed and bet his last dollar on the 

"Monta" called his hand and laid down three aces and 
a pair of queens. 

"Smoky" dropped his hand to the handle of his six- 
shooter and yelled, "Bunkoed by a sneaking coyote from 
the 'Bad Lands,' who rings in a 'cold deck' and marked 
cards when he plays with a gentleman! Take that pot, 
John," he yelled to the negro porter. 

"No, you can't play that game of 'bluff' on me," shouted 
"Monta" in defiance, as he jerked his gun from its scab- 

Both guns flashed at the same time, and the crowd 
rushed for the stairway. 

Lottie pushed back from the table and ran to the cor- 
ner of the room out of range of the bullets, where she 
remained until the shooting was over, and was the first 
to greet the sheriff when he entered, and found both men 
stretched upon the floor in pools of blood. 

"Why didn't you 'vamoose' when they pulled their 
'barkers,' Lottie?" 

"Oh, it was too late, sheriff; and I was safe out of 
range in the corner." 

"Well, you have your nerve on, all right, old girl. I 
don't believe I would have cared to take my chances in 
that scrimmage." 

"Perhaps not, sheriff, but you are not a desperate wom- 


"That's true, but you had better clear out now, before 
the coroner comes to view these 'stiffs'. " 

"All right, sheriff; so long; I'm sleepy." And this 
remarkable woman left the gambling hall for her lonely 
shack in the outskirts of the Flat. 

Subsequent events gave some color to a rumor that 
Lottie had known a blase character by name of Johnny 
Golden, previous to her arrival in the Flat, but this rumor 
could not be traced to any reliable source. But one 
day Marshal Bill Gilson and Deputy Sheriff Jim Draper 
arrested Johnny Golden for an infraction of the law. On 
their way to the guard house, where they intended to 
confine him over night, the officers claim that Golden's 
pal tried to rescue him and a fight took place, but the 
only visible evidence was the dead body of Golden found 
beside the trail leading to the fort. 

Whether there existed a bond of friendship between 
Johnny Golden and Lottie Deno will never be known, but 
when informed of the affair, it was said that Lottie lost 
her nerve and came near fainting. And the gossips 
around the saloons and dance halls claimed that if she 
was not his wife, there was some kind of a relationship. 

Letters found on Golden proved him to be the scion of 
a rich Boston family, and a dissolute castaway. 

Shortly after this occurrence Lottie quit frequenting 
the gambling rooms and was rarely seen in public, having 
all her necessary supplies sent to her shanty. 

It was about a month later when the eastbound stage 
drove to her shanty and this mysterious woman de- 
parted, never more to return. 

Her rent having been paid in advance, no one felt at 
liberty to open the shanty and investigate until Sheriff 
Cruger arrived from the county seat at Albany. 

But when the sheriff received the key from George 


Matthews and opened the door, he and the crowd that 
followed from curiosity beheld a richly appointed bed- 
room and a fireplace intact. On examination a note was 
found pinned to the bedclothes with these words: "Sell 
this outfit and give the money to some one in need of 

There was no telltale scrap of information among the 
articles that she abandoned to throw any light on the 
past career or future of this remarkable woman. 

Hurricane Bill 

Hurricane Bill was as slick a rascal as ever escaped 
justice. He came to the fort with a detachment of gov- 
ernment troops from Arizona, in the fall of 1875. He 
had been employed in the northwest territories by Uncle 
Sam as an Indian scout. Hurricane was one of the 
high rollers, traveling all the gaits in the whirlwind of 
crime so fast and furious that he was given the sobriquet 
of "Hurricane." 

He played the winning hand in a game with cards, 
whether he held the trumps or was compelled to run a 
bluff with his six-shooter and scoop in the stakes without 
showing his hand. 

Bill and his paramour, Hurricane Minnie, gave the offi- 
cers no end of trouble. They were mixed up in all the 
questionable affairs that even frontier license would not 
tolerate. But by some "hook or crook" they managed to 
escape the strong arm of the law, though by the "skin 
of their teeth," and the threats of their victims. 

It was always a question in the minds of those who 
knew Bill, whether he was a brave man or a coward. 
Sometimes, when confronted in an emergency, he showed 
the "white feather," but when acting as scout in an In- 
dian country he led the advance guard, and had been 


known to fight two Indians single-handed until the sol- 
diers came to his relief. 

Bill possessed some of the traits of a polar bear, inas- 
much as he was always in motion, and continuously bob- 
bing up where trouble was brewing. 

One morning Bill went into the Bee Hive saloon, 
owned by Mike O'Brien and Pat Casey. The firm also 
ran a buffalo hunting outfit, and Mike was the boss hun- 

When Mike visited the fort he helped to make things 
lively around the saloon. For some reason there was 
bad blood between Mike and Hurricane Bill, and when 
one or both were loaded with bad whisky there were in- 
dications of trouble. 

At this particular time Bill was laboring under a top- 
heavy cargo as he entered the saloon, and Mike was far 
gone in his cups and cursing the negro porter. 

Conditions were ripe for an open rupture, and Bill 
supplied the cause by making uncomplimentary remarks 
about the Irish and "niggers." 

It so happened that neither carried a six-shooter at the 
time, and it was necessary to secure some kind of a weap- 
on before hostilities could begin. Realizing the situa- 
tion, both men rushed to procure arms, Bill to his picket 
shanty across the street, and Mike into the back room 
of the saloon after his buffalo gun. He returned to fire 
a shot at Bill as the latter turned the corner of the picket 

With that deliberation born of familiarity with danger 
Mike walked to the middle of the road, and seating him- 
self in the dust, began to systematically pump lead into 
Bill's shanty. In the meantime, Bill got busy with his 
Winchester rifle, returning Mike's fire from the window. 
But the superior penetrating powers of the buffalo gun 


bored holes through the picket house, making it extreme- 
ly dangerous for Bill and Minnie to remain inside, much 
less expose themselves a target for Mike's marksman- 
ship. Therefore, to keep up his side of the duel, Bill 
was compelled to follow the report of Mike's gun by 
raising his own gun at arm's length above his head and 
firing out of the window, being careful not to expose his 
body in the act. 

While the denizens of the Flat were watching the ex- 
change of leaden compliments, a wild Irishman named 
Bill Campbell, staggering under the influence of liquor, 
came from the saloon, laden with a bottle of whisky and 
a glass, approached Mike and said, "Here, me boy, take 
somethin' to stiddy yez nerve and be after holding on to 
yez job 'til the blackguard shakes a white rag." 

Without the least hesitation Mike laid his gun down 
and accepted the bottle and glass and poured out a gen- 
erous portion, while Bill continued firing from his win- 
dow. After drinking and returning the bottle and glass, 
Mike took up his gun and resumed the bombardment. 

Finally, after shooting away all of his cartridges, Mike 
retired to the saloon in disgust, remarking that Hurricane 
was a white-livered coward, not worth the ammunition 
that it would take to kill him. 

There was a rollicking time in Dick Jones' saloon one 
night when Hurricane Bill was making a gun play. 
Some one passed the word to marshal Bill Gilson and he 
started in to pinch the Hurricane and run him in. 

The marshal was armed with a sawed-off shotgun 
mounted on a pistol handle. The gun was loaded with 
buckshot and capable of deadly execution at short range. 
As the marshal approached the door, Bill was given the 
tip by a comrade and made an attempt to escape that 
brought him in collision in the doorway with the mar- 


shal. Both men held their guns in their hands, and in 
the mixup that followed, Bill's pistol was discharged so 
close to the marshal's face that the flash powder-burned 
his eyes, and "Old Betsey," the marshal's gun, tore a big 
hole in the ceiling of the saloon. Before the marshal 
could recover, Bill escaped and joined a trail outfit camp 
over night, and in the morning started for the buffalo 
range with Henry Palm's wagon train, where he remained 
six months before returning to the Flat. 

The Chief of Red Mud 

Any man who lived on the frontier in the early days 
will tell you that it was no test of courage to be com- 
pelled to perform stunts under duress, and that "discre- 
tion is the better part of valor" when the other fellow 
has the drop on you. Many a brave man was forced to 
abide his time, that he might get even with a desperado 
who took advantage of an opportunity to play the bully. 

An illustration of this was exemplified on one occa- 
sion when the "Chief of Red Mud," the self-constituted 
leader of a gang of cowardly cut-throats that rendez- 
voused in Blanco canyon, came to Griffin with the avowed 
intention of making good his boast of being a bad man. 

After taking on a cargo of firewater he sailed in to 
capture the Flat. At the time, all the officers, including 
the marshal, were on the trail of a band of horse thieves, 
and no one of authority was in town. 

Whether the chief had been informed of the situation 
and took advantage of it, will never be known, but cir- 
cumstances led many to believe that he did. The chief, 
not content with the usual armament of a six-shooter and 
camp knife, carried two "45s" and a hawkbill knife 
twelve inches long. 

When he emerged from the Beehive saloon and started 


up Griffin avenue, his appearance was enough to strike 
terror into the hearts of the uninitiated. 

He evidently had "blood in his eyes" and determined 
to start a graveyard of his own and furnish the corpses, 
and his actions bore out his threats. 

A red Mexican sash beneath his cartridge belt gave 
the requisite color to his warlike appearance, and he 
would have made a striking figure on the deck of a pirate 

"Coyotes, hunt your holes! The biggest wolf on the 
range is coming down the trail !" Bang ! bang ! bang ! 
and the bullets from his "45" whizzed along the street. 

While every one doubted the courage of this bully, 
very few cared to dispute his assertion, and to avoid the 
stray bullets all went indoors and gave him a clear trail. 
But in his attempt to make good he was not satisfied 
to parade the street, but concluded to capture Charley 
Meyers' saloon. The barkeeper on the day shift was one 
Jule Hurvey, an ex-acrobat and all-around circus man. 
And when this human tornado swooped odwn upon him, 
Hurvey grabbed a lasso that hung on a peg and threw 
the open loop on the floor in front of the door, then 
stepped aside, holding onto the other end of the rope, 
and waited the onslaught. John Lewis, the negro por- 
ter, ran out of the rear door as the Chief charged in at 
the front, and Hurvey was left alone to face the situa- 
tion. And subsequent proceedings showed that he was 
equal to the emergency. 

When the "wild and woolly" entered the door and 
stepped into the loop, Hurvey pulled the lasso taut and 
Caught the Chief around both legs, causing him to pitch 
forward with so much force that his "45s" were knocked 
from his grasp and fell beyond his reach, and before he 
could recover from the shock, Hurvey had him trussed 

Had him trussed up like a chicken." (Page 78.) 


up like a chicken prepared for market. One end of the 
lasso was thrust through a ring in the wall, used for 
swinging a hammock, and as the Chief struggled to free 
himself, Hurvey pulled on the lasso until the victim be- 
gan to ascend the wall feet foremost. In the meantime 
the bold "Chief of Red Mud" was roaring like an en- 
raged bull. 

Having elevated the Chief to where he was compelled 
to keep both hands on the floor to protect his head, Hur- 
vey picked up the "45s" and began the juggling feat of 
throwing them in the air and catching them by the han- 
dles ready for action. People on the outside, curious to 
know what was going on, began to arrive, and it was not 
long before the Chief and Hurvey had a large audience. 

"Come right in, gents," said Hurvey; "this is a free 
exhibition, circus and menagerie all under one canvas. 
Don't go too close to the animals, especially those tied 
inside the ropes and outside the cages to give them exer- 
cise. Now that specimen over by the wall is a hybrid; 
half wolf and half hyena ; was captured on Red Mud in 
Blanco canyon." 

"Oh, no, Hurvey ; you must be mistaken ; it looks like 
a Gila monster," remarked John Hammond. 

"Ain't he a 'ring-tail tooter,' boys? I've seen 'em up 
in the mountains of Montana, where they grow big ones ; 
but he's a jim-dandy, and no mistake," said Hurricane 

"The way he pulls that rope and growls he must be a 
cougar," said Lewis Hill. 

"Oh, that's only a badger," declared Dick Jones. 
"Don't you see the way he shows his teeth and scratches 
with his claws?" 

"And will yez be after telling me what yez feed the 
monster on, Hurvey?" inquired Mike O'Brien. 


"A tenderfoot at each meal," replied Hurvey. 

"Oh, then, bedad, and he must be hungry now," re- 
marked O'Brien. 

During this running comment the Chief kept up a 
continuous flow of profanity, and looked unutterable 
words of defiance at his tormentors. 

But the physical strain proved too much for his bra- 
vado, and gradually he subsided into an inert mass of 
humanity and was forced to beg for mercy. All the fight 
had oozed out of him and he became an abject coward, 
with no thought but escape from his captor. Sobered 
and humiliated, he appealed to Hurvey's sense of sympa- 
thy, and with the remark that the performance was over, 
he loosened the lasso and the Chief arose unsteadily to 
his feet. 

"Now, if you are not satisfied with the treatment, 
Chief," said Hurvey, "here are your guns, and you shall 
have an equal chance and a fair fight." 

But the Chief declined the courtesy with thanks and 
left the Flat and took the trail going west. 

But not content to profit by his humiliation in the Flat, 
and, no doubt, desiring revenge on somebody to ease the 
painful remembrance, he decided to terrorize the inhabi- 
tants of the little town of Albany, sixteen miles from 
the fort in the center of the county. 

It may have been his desire to redeem himself from 
the charge of cowardice, in hope of retaining his prestige 
as leader of 'the gang at Red Mud. Be that as it may, 
after a night's rest he arose early the next morning and 
proceeded to fill up on "bug juice." It was not long 
until the liquor fired his brain and he became reckless 
and defied everything, living or dead. With loud- 
mouthed vaporings he started in to bulldoze the town, 
repeating his tactics of the day before in the Flat, and as 


soon as all the doors of the village were closed and the 
inhabitants inside, he got busy in the work of intimida- 
tion, parading the streets and threatening to shoot if any- 
one stuck their head out. While thus engaged a jolly 
Irishman named Pat Casey drove a two-horse wagon into 
town and halted on the public square. No sooner did the 
Chief spy the Irishman than he charged down upon him. 

"Say, you flannel mouth, tumble out of that old ram- 
shackle wagon and dance a jig. Be lively, now, or I'll 
punch a hole through your shoe leather," and to empha- 
size the threat, fired a shot into the bed of the wagon. 
But instead of jumping out on the opposite side from the 
Chief, Pat landed directly in front of him, and before the 
bad man could realize it and bring his guns into action, 
the Irishman dealt him a blow over the head with the 
pecan handle of his driving whip, and the Chief tumbled 
over in a heap. Securing his guns and throwing them 
into the wagon, Pat began to belabor the Chief with the 
lash until he howled with pain. But the Irishman did 
not let up, and proceeded to give him a cruel thrashing, 
until the Chief jumped to his feet and began to run away. 
Round and round the square they raced, the Chief in 
the lead and the Irishman a close second, while the citi- 
zens came out of their houses and shouted their approval. 
But the Chief soon outdistanced his pursuer and took to 
the open prairie. And the last seen of the "Chief of Red 
Mud" he was headed for the McKinzie trail, two miles 

And so far as the writer knows, the "Chief of Red 
Mud" never figured in the role of a bad man again, either 
in Griffin or Albany, though he was heard from in the vi- 
cinity of Blanco and Yellow House canyons, where he had 
a gang of bullies and thieves, who annoyed the settlers 
and ranchmen by rustling cattle and stealing horses. 


With few exceptions, men like the Chief were arrant 
cowards when confronted by brave men on equal foot- 
ing. They always took the "drop" on the other man be- 
fore abusing him. 

Ed. Forrest 

Ed. Forrest was an all-around sport. He dressed well 
and loafed in the dance halls, gambling rooms and the 
saloons ; played billiards, pool, and was a card sharp ; 
always had a pocket full of money and was generous to a 
fault in spending it. 

He dropped into the Flat one day without previous an- 
nouncement and seemed to fit into the mixed society like 
a charter member. No one asked him any questions and 
he volunteered no information about himself. The wom- 
en pronounced him good-looking and the men voted him 
a jolly good fellow. 

And time rolled on for about six months, when marshal 
Dave Barker opened his mail one morning and was 
astonished to receive a warrant from a sheriff in Louisi- 
ana, commanding him to arrest one Dick Millington, alias 
Ed. Forrest, charged with forging a check for $5,000. 

The letter informed the marshal that the sheriff held 
requisition papers for Forrest, and that he would start for 
Fort Griffin as soon as he was informed of his arrest. 

After a consultation with Justice Steel, Barker pro- 
ceeded to hunt up the erstwhile sport. But as was usual 
with gents of his cloth, he bunked up during the day and 
prowled at night. Therefore, it was after dark before he 
located Ed. When he did find him he was engaged in 
playing a game of billiards with a butcher named Huff, 
in Dick Jones' saloon. 

Entering the saloon through the front door, Barker 
drew his gun and commanded : 


"Throw up your hands, Ed ; I want you, my boy I" 

But instead of obeying, Forrest pulled his own gun, 
and the shooting commenced. 

Whether by accident or design, the lights went out, and 
the duel was continued in the dark, each firing at the 
flash of his antagonist's gun. 

Both emptied their pistols and Forrest exclaimed, 
"Shut off your 'barker/ Dave ; I'm wounded in the side." 

Lights were procured and Forrest was discovered lying 
upon the floor beside the table. 

"I'm sorry, Ed.," said the Marshal, "but you should 
have used better judgment than to resist." 

"That's the way it turned out, Dave ; but it is the first 
time my old '45' went back on me — I rarely miss what I 
shoot at." 

"And from the marks on the table, you would not have 
missed this time if I had not ducked below the rail every 
time that I fired at the flash of your gun. But say, Ed., 
you were not at this end of the table, where Huff was 
holding his cue at the time the racket commenced, were 
you ?" 

"No. Why do you ask ?" 

"Because there is a pool of blood here." 

"Huff must have been wounded in the fracas, too," 
said Dick Jones, holding a lighted lamp near the floor, 
"Better hunt him up, for he was bleeding like a stuck pig 
when he went out the door, from the trail he left behind." 

They found him in his butcher shop, lying across his 
chopping block. A stray bullet had severed an artery 
in his leg, and he died from the loss of blood. 

Forrest was removed to the Government hospital for 
treatment, where he remained until his wound had suffi- 
ciently healed to permit the authorities to put him in 
jail, awaiting the arrival of the Louisiana sheriff. 


Several months after his return to Louisiana he was 
tried in the courts and was exonerated from the charge 
of forgery, and returned to his old haunts in the Flat. 

But though mixed up in several shooting scrapes at 
various times in his subsequent career, he escaped being 
killed or wounded. 

Smoky Joe 

Joe was a nondescript of mixed blood, dark and 
swarthy, and was given the sobriquet of ''Smoky Joe." 

He followed what was known as a "capper" around the 
gambling rooms ; led the unwary cowboys to buck up 
against a "brace game" by pretending to win large sums 
from the dealer, and encourage his companion to bet. 

When he succeeded in roping in a novice he received a 
certain per cent, of the winnings taken from the victim. 
Consequently, Joe was looked on as an outlaw by those 
who knew his occupation, and it was a mystery how he 
kept from being killed before he was hung. 

Joe was suspected of thievery, though never caught 
with the goods on him. But like the pitcher carried 
once too often to the well, Joe was broken over the 
wheel of fate. 

His avarice got the better of his judgment when an en- 
terprising Jew pedler, named "Cheap John," came to 
the Flat one day, and for a week engaged in selling his 

When the Jew departed, driving an old horse to a di- 
lapidated hack, he was supposed to possess considerable 
money. And Joe, believing that no one cared for the 
Jew, claimed that the pedler borrowed money from him 
and never paid it back, and he started out to overtake 
the unfortunate man and force the collection of his myth- 
ical debt. 


The next day Joe returned, and some one detected 
that he was wearing the Jew's boots. 

When confronted with the accusation, he admitted 
that there had been trouble, and that he was forced to 
kill the Jew in self-defense, justifying his appropriation 
of the boots and other articles found in his possession, 
on the ground that if he had not taken them some unprin- 
cipled person would have stolen them. 

But Smoky Joe did not reckon with the temperament 
of the denizens of the Flat on this occasion, and a select 
crowd of masked men visited his shack about the hour 
of midnight and invited him to take a walk down the 
avenue to the Clear Fork bottom, where the limbs of the 
trees seemed to grow especially convenient for a necktie 

The next morning his body was found swinging beside 
the trail, and some freighters coming in with buffalo hides 
reported it to Justice Steele, and a negro was sent down 
to dig a hole, cut the rope and let the body drop into it. 

This was considered equal and exact justice for such a 
crime as Joe had committed. 

If he had put up a neat job, with some semblance of 
fair play, he would have been forgiven, and perhaps 
praised. But to become a highway robber and a cold- 
blooded murderer, could not be tolerated. 

Killing a Buffalo Soldier 

When the white soldiers were transferred to other 
posts the garrison was filled with seven companies of 
negroes, or, as the Tonkawa Indians called them, "buf- 
falo soldiers," and the white people generally showed 
their disapproval. This brought about friction that de- 
veloped into hatred and resentment, and occasionally open 
rupture between the two races. And this notwithstand- 


ing the peace officers cooperated with the military offi- 
cers in an effort to prevent open hostilities. The "buf- 
falo soldiers" dared not venture into the Flat unless there 
were at least half a dozen in the crowd, carrying their side 
arms. Even then they were only suffered to patronize 
the low dives that pandered to their trade. 

One evening a drunken negro soldier separated from 
his pals and staggered into the street and started up the 
sidewalk. He had not gone far until he collided with a 
buffalo hunter and began to dispute the right of way. 
The negro was killed, and his comrades carried him to 
the post under the surveillance of the populace. 

When the cortege arrived it created the greatest excite- 
ment, and almost a mutiny followed the announcement 
of the soldier's death. The negroes ran to the parade 
ground and bunched in a mass, and began to gesticulate 
in a wild, frenzied manner, while the officers endeavored 
to quiet them. It required a great deal of persuasion and 
a promise to investigate to prevent a rush to arms and a 
charge down the hill among the denizens of the Flat. 

In the meantime the sheriff and the marshal were try- 
ing to subdue the demonstrations of hostilities at the 
foot of the hill. 

Bad blood was boiling and danger of a conflict immi- 
nent. Business was suspended and buffalo guns and 
Winchester rifles were in evidence. Preparations to meet 
a grave emergency were going on. 

Fortunately, Captain Arrington and his company of 
State rangers rode into town by the way of Jackson's 

The addition of these bronzed veteran troopers gave 
power to the sheriff, and the argument of persuasion 
changed to one of command to disperse and let the law 
take its course. But after taps, when near the hour of 


midnight, the negroes left their quarters about one hun- 
dred strong, and securing their guns from the arsenal, 
moved silently to a position within easy range of the 

It was a starlight night, and the bars of light from the 
saloons and dance halls presented a dazzling mark. 

The sounds of ribald laughter, mingled with the music 
that floated up from these dens of immorality, told the 
sad story of lewd women and besotted men. The inci- 
dent of the evening had been forgotten. So trivial a 
thing as the death of any man, much less a negro soldier, 
was not allowed to disturb the gaiety of the Flat. But 
there came a crashing report of firearms, and the bullets 
flew fast and thick. The music ceased, the laughter died 
away and the lights went out. And for a brief space 
silence reigned. 

Then there was a flash and a sharp report of a buffalo 
gun in the Flat. The bullet sang its way up the hill and 
over the fort. There was another report, and another, 
then the firing became faster and faster, as one after an- 
other joined in, until the whole Flat seemed to have gone 
into action against the fort. But after the first volley 
the soldiers had retired to their quarters to escape detec- 
tion by the officers. 

Receiving no response the buffalo hunters soon tired of 
wasting ammunition. And for once in its history the Flat 
was silent the remainder of the night. 

Strange to say, by reason of the soldiers' aim being too 
high in the dark, only one child was slightly wounded 
during this fusillade. 

The occasion of sending these negro troops to Fort 
Griffin to relieve the white troops ordered to Fort Clark 
had a tragic beginning. 

While the officers were turning over the commissary 


department and checking in the new command, a squad 
of white soldiers escaped to the Flat and loaded up on 
bad whisky. Captain Lincoln, in command of the negro 
troops, with the brevet of Colonel, had occasion to visit 
the Flat and discovered the drunken soldiers. He imme- 
diately ordered them to their quarters. One, too far 
gone in inebriation to respect his rank, told the Captain 
to go to a warmer climate than Texas. The Captain 
pulled his revolver and killed the soldier. 

For a few moments it looked like the Captain would be 
mobbed by infuriated cowboys and buffalo hunters, but 
the marshal and a dozen State rangers took the officer 
in charge and protected him from personal violence. 

After a preliminary hearing before a justice of the 
peace, Captain Lincoln was released on bond. By re- 
quest of the department at Washington, he was turned 
over to the military and tried by court martial and ac- 

Less Sense Than Judgment 

An Italian gunsmith, who did a thriving business by 
reason of the fact that all men carried guns in those days, 
also possessed an inherent love for music and made the 
mistake of ordering an E-flat horn with one of his con- 
signments of supplies. 

It arrived one day on a freight wagon, much to the de- 
light of the little gunsmith, who, as eager as a child with 
a new toy, closed the door of his shack and began to test 
his lungs by trying to fill the horn with his breath, and 
succeeded in producing some unearthly screeches. This 
aroused a spirit of resentment among his neighbors, who 
voiced their disapproval by firing a few shots into his 
shack. The gunsmith, taking the hint, waited until night 
and went out into the mesquite brush, about a half-mile 


from the Flat, and opened up with a series of sounds that 
even made the coyotes sit up and take notice. 

This innovation brought forth a vigorous protest from 
several directions, with a few well directed shots that 
caused the noise to abate with a spasmodic quack of a 
wounded duck. 

The little gunsmith was as mad as a wet hen when he 
came running into Charley Meyer's saloon, where a jolly 
crowd of cowboys were having a levee. 

Holding up his horn to exhibit its battered condition, 
the gunsmith fairly stormed in his rage. 

"Zay, why you no like ze music, eh ? Sacre, da Ameri- 
can is — is der, what you call him, der big ass dat have 
the long ears? Why ze devil you shoot my horn, eh? 
Zat horn he cost me twenty dollars." 

"What is the matter, Dago? Been eating something 
that don't agree with you?" 

"Oh, sacre ! I feel me disgusted and I don't care for 
the old town some more, I tell youz !" And he departed 
amid a shout of laughter. 

Running a Bluff on the Officers 

Mike Kegan, a cow puncher from Sam Ward's ranch, 
was in the habit of coming to the Flat and getting on a 
protracted spree. He delighted in going into a saloon 
and making a rough house. Time and again he was 
pulled by the marshal and compelled to pay a fine. But 
this seemed only to encourage him to greater efforts in 
cussedness. Consequently, the friction between him and 
the officers became so tense that a shooting scrape was 

One Saturday morning Mike and his brother John 
hitched their bronchos in front of Dick Jones' saloon and 
began to tank up. It did not take long before Mike was 
on a dangerous jag, while John, the more conservative 


of the two, was trying to mollify Mike and induce him to 
return to the ranch, but this only caused him to talk 
louder and curse viciously. Then breaking through all 
restraint, he mounted his pony and dashed up the avenue 
at full speed, whooping and shooting at every jump. 

Marshal Barker, standing in front of Culp Bros.' hard- 
ware store, stepped inside and secured a shotgun, threw 
two cartridges of buckshot into the barrels and ran out- 
side in time to head off the reckless Mike. 

"Drop your six-shooter, Mike, and roll off that bronc, 
or I will fill you full of holes." 

Mike pulled his pony back upon its haunches and 
looked down the muzzle of the marshal's gun. 

"Drop your gun„^quick, Mike, if you want to live long 
enough to make your will." 

"Well, Dave, you have the drop on me, and I guess 
there is no chance for a stand-off. Here is the shooting- 
iron and I'm a candidate for the lockup. But if I had an 
even break there would be a mixup sure as you live, 

The marshal picked up the six-shooter and compelled 
Mike to march in front of him to Justice Steele's office, 
and answer a charge of disturbing the peace. 

"Bring out your branding-iron, Judge, I'm ready to 
take my medicine." 

"Wait until the county attorney writes the complaint," 
said his Honor, and then I will give you a hearing, Mr. 

"Oh, come off with your legal palaver, Judge, and tell 
me the price of the hold up." 

"It will be $5 and the costs if you shut that fly trap, 
and $10 more if you don't keep quiet." 

"There is $50, Judge ; just keep the change, for I'll be 
in contempt again before leaving the Flat." And without 


another word Mike left the office before the astonished 
justice could call him back. 

In less time than it takes to relate the occurrence, Ke- 
gan was astride of his pony speeding down the avenue 
once more. Meeting his brother John, he snatched the 
pistol from his belt and began another fusillade. 

The marshal grabbed his gun and rushed out to inter- 
cept the "wild and woolly" Mike. No sooner did he 
emerge from the office than Mike charged down upon 

There was a flash from the marshal's gun and the 
broncho tumbled to his knees, throwing the doughty 
knight of the prairie over his head, and before he could 
recover he was again under arrest. 

"Guilty or not guilty?" said the judge. 

"Not guilty," said Mike. 

"Want a jury?" 

"No, I have already paid the price of my contempt for 
this court." 

"Shut up, or I will have you bound and gagged." 

"All right, Judge ; start the mill to grinding ; the grist 
is ready." 

"Introduce the evidence, Mr. Attorney." 

Two witnesses were introduced for the State. 

"Any witnesses, Mr. Kegan?" 

"No ; what the devil do I want with witnesses, Judge ?" 

"The State closes," said the attorney. And may it 
please your honor, as the defendant has no attorney, I 
have nothing to say, and submit the case without argu- 

"Have you anything to say, Mr. Kegan?" said the 

"No, replied Kegan; "as the State has no attorney, I 
have nothing to say, either." 


"One hundred dollars and the costs," said the judge. 

The laugh was on the county attorney, and it cost him 
$5 to set up the drinks to the boys. 

But neither the fine nor the dangerous experience had 
any effect on Kegan, who several years afterward was 
killed in a duel with officers in a western county. 

And in this connection it is appropriate to give a brief 
description of the man who dispensed justice in those 

Justice Steele 

Justice Steele was an ex-army officer, who held the 
rank of colonel during the Civil War, but in the reorgan- 
ization at the close of hostilities, was slated as a lieuten- 
ant, and came to Fort Griffin with his command. When 
he resigned he donned civilians' attire, and settled down 
near the fort to make a home. 

The Colonel's popularity was so great among the den- 
izens of the Flat, that he was elected justice of the peace 
without opposition, and held the office until the fort was 
abandoned and the Flat became a country village. 

During the heyday of his career as justice, Colonel 
Steele was one of the boys, always ready to take part in 
a game of chance and go the rounds of the dance halls 
and the saloons. Often did he appear on the bench with 
black eyes and a swollen countenance, after a night's 
debauch. But this in nowise interfered with his admin- 
istration of justice. Sitting back in his arm chair, hands 
raised in front of him and finger tips touching, he would 
assess a fine on his comrades of the night before, without 
the slightest hesitation, notwithstanding their looks of 
astonishment and muttered cussing. Yet Colonel Steele 
was not a contradiction of himself, but only a product 
of the times, that gave to every man the freedom of con- 
duct and keeper of his own conscience. 


Whether Colonel Steele's love of the curious prompted 
him to display a brass-barrel horse-pistol and a long- 
blade Turkish knife in the pigeonholes of his office desk, 
was a question of conjecture. But the dare-devil cow 
punchers who were arraigned in his court for misde- 
meanors called them the Colonel's peacemakers. And 
when the effects of too much firewater made them ob- 
streperous, and inclined to find fault with the court's 
rulings, he emphasized his decisions by letting his right 
hand rest near the handle of the pistol. This movement 
of his honor had the desired effect, and the belligerent 
boys generally quieted down, with an aside remark about 
the "old rooster's" arsenal. 

"Say, Pete," said a cow puncher, one day, "do you 
reckon the old galoot would use the blunderbuss?" 

"Sure thing, Bill; they say that he trims the trees in 
his' orchard with that gun — keeps it loaded with twelve 
buckshot when he holds court." 

"Joe McCombs says that the Colonel mows prairie 
grass for his hens' nests with that gun." 

"Whew ! You don't say ? How does he do it, cully ?" 

"Oh, dead easy. Just fills it to the muzzle with bird- 
shot, then steps down into a gulch, so that his arm comes 
on a level with the grass, gives a sweeping motion and 
turns it loose. Joe says the Colonel raked up an arm- 
ful of grass from one discharge." 

"Think I'm dead easy, to believe a yarn like that, don't 

"Please yourself, Pete; but if you think the Colonel 
will not put that pistol into action, you are plumb locoed, 

" 'Course I'm not going to take chances, Bill ; 'alee 
samee,' I think it is a big bluff." 

"Order in court," said his Honor, as he picked his teeth 
with the sharp point of the Turkish knife. 


"Well, he's a game old sport, and he's backed up by 
the law, too, Bill. I guess I'll take my medicine straight, 
instead of trying to clean out the court, and pay the 
doctor to pick out the shot after the fracas is over." 

"Keep order in court ! The next case on the docket is 
the State of Texas versus Pete Haverty." 

The abandonment of Fort Griffin and the extermina- 
tion of the buffalo in 1882 deprived the denizens of the 
Flat of their revenue, and they scattered to the four 
corners of the earth, and Colonel Steele returned to his 
old home at Concord, N. H. 

Stovepipe Joe 

Stovepipe Joe was a regular rounder, with a slippery 
record for crookedness, and suspicion rested on him for 
many crimes not proven. 

One day he picked a quarrel with a discharged soldier 
known as Scotty. He armed himself and followed Scotty 
to his home. The soldier was unarmed, and when he saw 
his desperate assailant, tried to escape by running around 
the house to where his wife was washing clothes. 

The woman fell upon her knees and begged for the 
life of her husband, but Joe killed him before her eyes. 

The next morning Joe was found hanging to a tree 
on Collin's creek. 

The Cattle Rustlers and Horse Thieves 

Another band of desperadoes, led by Andy Brownlee, 
Bill Townsend, Charley McBride and Jim English, oper- 
ated in the surrounding range and made Griffin their 
headquarters. No effort was made by members of the 
gang to disguise their identity. In fact, they were in the 
habit of boasting of their achievements and defying the 
officers to arrest them. 

The gang numbered about thirty, and their operations 


did more to bring into existence the Vigilance Committee 
for the protection of life and property than all other 
causes combined. 

Until the Vigilance Committee made it too unhealthy 
for them, horse thieves and cattle rustlers were very 
bold and daring in their operations. 

A striking demonstration of this lawlessness was ex- 
hibited on the avenue one evening. 

Jack Masterson, a quartermaster's sergeant at the fort, 
rode down the hill to the corner store, where he was a 
silent partner with Sam Stinson in a general merchandise 

The animal that he was riding, an iron-gray cavalry 
horse, about sixteen hands high, was a fine specimen of 
the equine breed. 

Dismounting at the door, Masterson unwound his lasso 
from the pommel of his saddle, and holding on to the end 
walked within the store to talk with Stinson. While 
thus engaged, a notorious character who traveled under 
the sobriquet of "Snaky Jim" came sauntering along the 
walk, and without the least hesitation, cut the lasso, 
mounted the horse and rode away, leaving Masterson 
holding the detached end of the lasso. 

Masterson was an Englishman and a soldier of fortune, 
having served in the Crimean war, the Civil war on the 
side of the Confederacy, with Maximilian in Mexico, and 
then enlisted in the Regulars with Uncle Sam, and from 
varied experience was not easily disturbed. But as he 
contemplated the situation he seemed to be nonplussed. 

"Well, I call that a scurvy trick to take a sneaking ad- 
vantage of a gentleman when his back is turned. Espe- 
cially when it will be difficult to explain to the Colonel 
how I came to lose one of the best cavalry horses in the 



When last seen, "Snaky Jim" was speeding the horse 
down Griffin avenue to the crossing of the Clear Fork. 

Masterson received a severe reprimand from the post 
commander and the government was minus a good horse. 
And, beyond its humorous side, very little attention was 
paid to the incident. 

Names and incidents could be multiplied almost in- 
definitely to prove the reckless indifference to the law 
before the regime of the Vigilance Committee. But suffi- 
cient has been told to impress the readers of the gravity 
of the situation in and around Fort Griffin. 

How easily men can become accustomed to such a sit- 
uation was demonstrated by the commercial relations 
that existed between the merchants and this class of cus- 
tom. An illegitimately acquired dollar purchased a des- 
perado all the accommodations that legitimate trade could 



They came at midnight, carrying vengeance and death in their 

And, without either judge or jury, tried men of those lawless 


From observations from day to day, in his rounds of 
the fort and the Flat, it did not take Kentuck long to 
come to the conclusion that there was trouble brewing 
between the unlawful denizens and the better element of 
the people. 

The sheriff and his deputies and the marshal had long 
known that an organized gang of cut-throats, robbers and 
cattle rustlers, with a stronghold in the Wichita moun- 
tains, near Fort Sill in the Indian Territory, operated in 
and around Fort Griffin, under the leadership of Charley 
McBride, Bill English and Jim Townsend, and that the 
gang was too large for the officers to tackle single- 
handed. They were also aware that unless they could 
organize a posse strong enough to follow the robbers to 
their stronghold and give them battle, it would be useless 
to try to execute a warrant against a member of the 

So well organized was this band that they could muster 
from twenty-five to thirty desperate men, well armed and 
ready to fight. Then there were at least double that 
number of sympathizers who lived off their bounty, and 
furnished them information that enabled them to suc- 
cessfully operate and conceal the evidence of their crime. 


And whenever a member of the band was caught napping 
and arrested, his pals would either rescue him or come 
into court and swear him out of limbo. 

Therefore, it was no great surprise to Kentuck a few 
months later when he heard it whispered in confidence 
that a Vigilance Committee was being organized, and, 
that sooner or later, those who did not respect life or 
property would come to grief. 

From his knowledge of the history of California and 
other frontiers, Kentuck was certain that the Griffin com- 
munity must go through a similar experience before the 
law-abiding citizens could enjoy the fruits of their labor. 
Consequently, Kentuck "sawed wood" and waited devel- 
opments. And while he deplored the necessity for sum- 
mary justice, recognized that "silence is golden" at this 

One not a member of the Vigilance Committee could 
not know whether his neighbor belonged to the society or 
not, but one thing he did learn — that there was a con- 
centrated and determined effort to rid the community of 
thieves and murderers. 

That the Vigilance Committee's work proved eminently 
successful was demonstrated in less than six months from 
the time the trees began to bear human fruit. 

The McBride-English-Townsend gang rendezvoused in 
a shanty at the end of the avenue on the bank of the Clear 
Fork. Indian Kate and her daughter Mag lived there. 
Kate was half Indian and half Mexican, and possessed 
all the cunning treachery of both. Mag was the offspring 
of Kate and a renegade negro, named Cato, who joined 
the Comanches in their raids on the white settlers. 

In this shanty the gang would meet and lay their plans, 
and many queer stories were told of their plotting in the 
dark hours of the night. 


But one frosty morning a cowboy riding in from the 
Matthews ranch, leisurely following the trail through the 
Clear Fork bottom, discovered the bodies of McBride, 
Townsend and Brownlee hanging from the same limb. 
It was learned later that English had escaped from the 
committee and was seen on the trail to Kansas. 

About this time Kentuck was offered the position and 
accepted the office of Justice of the Peace of Precinct 
No. i, including the county seat, the embryo town of 
Albany, in the center of the county, sixteen miles from 
the fort. And his first call to official duty was a request 
to hold an inquest over the bodies of two men hung by 
the Vigilantes. 

The two men found hanging to the tree that morning 
had paid the penalty of a most revolting crime. 

When the news came to Albany that a foul murder and 
robbery had been committed on a ranch near old Fort 
Phantom Hill in Jones county, attached to Shackelford 
for judicial purposes, a warrant was placed in the hands 
of Sheriff John M. Laren, and he summoned a posse and 
started in pursuit of the murderers. After a diligent 
search near the scene of the crime it was learned that 
the criminals were hurrying along the trail to Kansas. 
Securing the necessary requisition papers Sheriff Laren 
followed them, and nothing more was seen of him until 
one morning two months later, when he arrived in Al- 
bany with the two men accused of the crime. 

And notwithstanding a guard of four men was put in 
charge of the prisoners, the Vigilance Committee came in 
the night, and the next morning they were turned over 
to Kentuck for inquest and burial. 

For the greater portion of the next two years following 
this inquest Kentuck's official duties of the office of jus- 
tice of the peace were confined to inquests and mar- 


The willful cussedness of those desperadoes who op- 
erated in and around both Griffin and Albany made it 
necessary for the Vigilance Committee to furnish the 
corpses to plant a graveyard outside the limits of both 
towns. And it was surprising how fast these silent cities 
of the dead grew in proportion to the population of the 
towns and the surrounding country. 

During this period street duels between the officers and 
lawless men, especially in the Flat around the fort, was 
almost a daily occurrence. But the local authorities, 
aided by Captain Arrington and a company of Texas 
rangers, made it a losing game for the vicious characters, 
but space forbids the writer going into details. 

One of the most startling developments during the 
reign of the Vigilance Committee, that cast a gloom over 
the whole community, was the discovery that a well 
planned system of cunning thievery and red-handed mur- 
der was carried on by ex-Sheriff John M. Laren and his 
pal, John Sillman. 

The confidence of the people in Laren when they 
elected him sheriff, and his subsequent stability as a 
prominent ranchman, could not be shaken by anything 
short of positive evidence of his guilt. 

Consequently, notwithstanding persistent rumors dur- 
ing his term of office, it was several months after his 
successor, Bill Cruger, was sworn in before the rumors 
were run down and the facts unearthed. 

Even then his connection by marriage with a promi- 
nent family caused the authorities to hesitate before tak- 
ing any legal steps to accuse him of crime. But like all 
successful criminals, Laren and Sillman became bolder 
and bolder in their operations, until their acts could no 
longer escape notice. 

But when the officers had matured plans for their ar- 


rest they were informed that they were members of the 
McBride-English-Townsend gang, and it would be wis- 
dom to go slow. 

Sheriff John M. Laren and His Deputy, John 

No place on this earth did circumstances and condi- 
tions develop more queer characters and marshal to- 
gether more desperate men and women than the Flat sur- 
rounding the foot of Government Hill. 

Among those who were attracted to Fort Griffin by the 
hustle and bustle incident to the rush of business, and 
the wild life of vice in the "Flat," were two men by 
name of John M. Laren and John Sillman. 

No one knew and very few cared about their antece- 
dents. Laren drifted down the trail from Fort Dodge, 
Kan., and Sillman came from nowhere in particular. 
Within a week of their arrival they became companions 
and fast friends, and continued these relations until the 
Vigilance Committee killed Laren and chased Sillman off 
the range. 

The career of these two men was meteoric in its flight 
and startling in its details. 

Laren secured employment on a near-by ranch, with 
headquarters on the banks of the Clear Fork a few miles 
southeast of the fort. He soon proved to be a careful, 
experienced cow puncher, and won the confidence of the 
ranchman, who advanced him to the important position 
of "range boss." 

In this capacity he became the associate of the members 
of the family, whose confidence he gained by exemplary 
conduct and clean personal habits. And being unusually 
bright and intelligent, he gained the confidence and the 
affection of Mary, one of the ranchman's daughters, and 


after a brief courtship married her, notwithstanding there 
was some opposition from her parents, who protested be- 
cause their daughter knew little or nothing about Laren. 

The young couple selected old Camp Cooper as a sat- 
isfactory place for a home, and built one of the most sub- 
stantial two-story stone ranch houses in Throckmorton 

With the assistance of his father-in-law, Laren pur- 
chased a small herd of cattle, and to all appearances led 
the life of a young ranchman who desired to succeed and 
prosper in his line of business. 

In the meantime his duties as "range boss" brought 
him in contact with all the cattlemen and cowboys on the 
Griffin range, with whom he soon became a general fa- 

Sheriff Henry Jacobs' term of office was about to ex- 
pire, and considerable opposition to his reelection devel- 
oped, especially among the citizens of the Flat and the 
reckless cow punchers, who resented any interference 
with their wild sport when they desired to shoot up the 

The opposition to Jacobs proposed Laren's name for 
his successor, and he was elected to the office the follow- 
ing November. 

True to the bond of friendship between them, Laren 
appointed his old comrade, Sillman, deputy sheriff. 

Local conditions demanded brave officers, and Sheriff 
Laren and his deputy, Sillman, proved to be the men of 
the hour. 

The ink was hardly dry where he subscribed to the 
oath of office, until a warrant was placed in his hands 
for the arrest of "Shorty" Collins, an all-around horse 
thief, crook and murderer. 

"Shorty" was at that moment taking in the town under 


the protecting wing of a bunch of Southern Texas cow- 
punchers. "Shorty" was both desperate and brave, and 
when loaded with bad whisky and backed up with reck- 
less companions was a dangerous proposition to tackle. 

Laren and Sillman confronted "Shorty" and his com- 
panions on the avenue in front of E. Frankle's store. 
It was a lively bunch of reckless dare-devils, bent on mis- 
chief and prepared to fight any opposition. "Shorty" 
was leading the gang when Sheriff Laren pulled out the 
warrant and commanded him to throw up his hands and 
consider himself under arrest. Like a flash, "Shorty's" 
hand dropped to the handle of his gun ; at the same sec- 
ond Sillman sent a. bullet crashing through "Shorty's" 
left breast, and he fell dead at the sheriff's feet. 

For a moment it looked like the sheriff and his deputy 
would be shot to pieces by "Shorty's" infuriated com- 
panions, but a quick, determined stand with their six- 
shooters in the face of the enraged cow punchers gave 
time for parley. 

"This is not your funeral, boys," said Laren. "This 
man 'Shorty' is a hardened criminal, and only got what is 
coming to him. He threw in with your bunch to escape 
being arrested. It is all right for you to stay with a 
friend, and I would consider that you were 'white-livered' 
curs if you deserted a friend. But I know you do not 
wish to shield a horse thief and a murderer." 

"No," said Heck Thomas, the trail boss, "we don't 
want to line up with any horse thief and murderer, sheriff, 
but we'll sure stick to a white cuss when he's down on his 

"That's right, boys ; come in and take a drink on me," 
said Laren. 

This closed the incident, with the exception that Justice 
Steele held an inquest, and "Shorty's" remains were 
buried on "Bootleg" hill. 


During the first six months of his term Laren did more 
to quell lawlessness than any man who served the people 
as sheriff, before or since his time. 

During his term of office the government advertised 
for bids to furnish the garrison with fresh beef, and 
Laren and Sillman were awarded the contract. This 
required a supply of three beeves each day. 

Sillman, up to the time of his appointment as Laren's 
deputy, was an all-around sport, horse trader, gambler 
and three-card man. Consequently, he had an extensive 
acquaintance with most all the shady tricks practiced in 
the Flat, and the shady citizens who practiced them. 

It was not long after Laren and Sillman secured the 
beef contract and began to deliver the meat at the post 
until ranchmen in the vicinity began to lose some of their 
fat steers. But for some time it was charged to cattle 
rustlers, who were known to cut out a bunch on the open 
range and drive them off to some distant market. But by 
reason of the fact that Laren only owned a small herd 
and Sillman none, and that they had never purchased 
any cattle, suspicion was aroused and investigation fol- 
lowed. Of course, this was carried on secretly, but noth- 
ing developed to confirm the suspicion except the char- 
acter of the men employed by Laren and Sillman. But 
Laren was defeated at the end of his first term of office, 
and Bill Cruger was elected. 

As soon as Cruger qualified, the ranchmen, including 
Laren's father-in-law and brothers-in-law, began a thor- 
ough investigation. 

To lend zest to the search for evidence, it was reported 
that two men who built a mile of stone fence for Laren 
had mysteriously disappeared without being paid for their 
labor, and suspicion pointed to foul play. 

With the aid of Sheriff Cruger and his deputies some 


tangible evidence was secured that led to the dragging of 
a deep water hole in the Clear Fork, not far from the 

To the surprise of every one, about 200 hides were 
discovered bearing the marks and brands of ranchmen 
living in the vicinity. Thus the chain of circumstances 
began to wind, slowly but surely, around Laren and Sill- 
man. About this time a "nester" by the name of Lan- 
caster, who furnished the sheriff with the information 
leading to the dragging of the deep water hole, disap- 
peared from his home one morning, and as he did not 
return before night, his frightened wife appealed to the 
sheriff for assistance. Deputy Jim Draper was sent out 
with a posse to hunt for Lancaster. It was the morning 
after his disappearance that Lancaster was discovered, 
wounded and concealed in the brakes along the river. 
Lancaster said that Laren and Sillman followed him 
for several miles, and when he ran, trying to escape, they 
fired on him as he dashed over the bank, and that he was 
afraid to return home and endanger his family. Lancas- 
ter was carried to his home to pacify his wife, then taken 
to Albany, where he swore to a complaint before Ken- 
tuck, justice of the peace of Precinct No. 1, charging 
John M. Laren and John Sillman with assault with in- 
tent to murder. Kentuck issued the proper warrant and 
placed it in the hands of Sheriff Cruger, who summoned 
a posse of twenty-five. men, as it had been rumored that 
Laren could summon to his aid at least twenty well- 
armed men. 

The sheriff and his posse marched across the open 
prairie during the night and arrived at Laren's ranch an 
hour before daylight, concealing themselves near the 
corral. Among the cattlemen Laren was known to be a 
dead shot with a six-shooter, and Cruger and his men 
did not care to take any chances on his capture. 


Fate seemed to play into the hands of the sheriff's 
posse, for Laren came out with the milking pail, having 
forgotten to buckle on his six-shooter. When he came 
within close range the sheriff and his men covered him 
with their guns and demanded his surrender. 

"Boys, it is the first time you ever caught me without 
my gun, or any chance to secure it. I'll give you $500 to 
allow my wife to bring my gun to me, and I will take 
my chances with the whole bunch. Oh, I know, you are 
too big cowards to face me without all the odds in your 

"All that reckless talk will do you no good now, Laren. 
We don't intend to sacrifice any lives to please your de- 
sire for a fight," replied Sheriff Cruger. 

Three men, at the command of the sheriff, handcuffed 
Laren and forced him to mount a horse, securely fasten- 
ing his legs beneath the saddle. 

The posse, with their prisoner, then took up their line 
of march via Griffin for Albany. In Griffin there was 
an angry demonstration made by Laren's friends, and for 
a time it looked like there might be a clash between op- 
posing forces, but the State rangers lined up with the 
sheriff and overawed the lawless element. 

The county of Shackelford had not built a jail at that 
time, and when the posse arrived in Albany with their 
prisoner it was necessary to place Laren under guard 
with the other prisoners in a box house. 

In the meantime Laren's wife arrived with a young 
lawyer from Griffin, named John W. Wray. It was near 
sunset when they arrived, and Wray at once began ne- 
gotiations to obtain bail for the prisoner. 

About the same hour deputy sheriff Jim Draper re- 
turned from a scout after Sillman and reported that he 
had disappeared, but that it was rumored that he was 


recruiting a desperate band to attack the guards and res- 
cue Laren. 

This information produced considerable excitement 
and caused the sheriff to double the guards and organize 
a reserve to come to their assistance in the event of an 

The young lawyer, John W. Wray (now a wealthy 
citizen of Fort Worth), made a brave effort to have 
Laren released on bond, but Kentuck told him that it 
was too late in the evening to hold a preliminary trial, 
and refused to grant bail without a hearing. 

"But, your Honor," said Wray, "we will place $1,200 
in gold in your hands if you will give us the privilege 
of guarding him at the hotel over night." 

"Do you understand what that proposition means, 

"It only means, your Honor, that we guarantee his 
presence in court to-morrow." 

"No, I am sorry to say, Wray, that your proposition 
spells bribery; and if it were not that the peculiar situ- 
ation restrains me from giving forcible demonstration of 
my feelings, I would make it a personal matter with 

"But I beg your pardon, your Honor; I have good 
reasons to believe that my client's life is in danger from 
the Vigilance Committee, and I want to make every ef- 
fort to protect him." 

"On the contrary, Wray, I have the best of reasons to 
believe that Sillman's gang will try to rescue Laren, and 
I do not propose to interfere with Sheriff Cruger's ar- 
rangements to hold the prisoner. I understand that he 
has already doubled the guards, and holds ten men in 

"Well, your Honor, if Laren is killed during the night, 


I will not be responsible for it; I have tried to do my 

"No one can censure you for being true to your client, 
Wray. And I am also conscious of performing my duty 
as a State officer." 

During this conversation, in the rear of the old picket 
court room, a representative of the Vigilance Committee 
had his ear glued to a crack in the wall, and he listened 
to every word. And years afterward Kentuck was -in- 
formed by a reliable gentleman that had he yielded to 
Wray's proposition he, too, would have paid the penalty 
of indiscretion with his life. 

As night approached Sheriff Cruger and the guards 
ran a chain through the manacles of the prisoners and 
locked it to a large staple in the wall. Preparations were 
then made to repel an attack from Sillman's gang. No 
one seemed to suspect that the Vigilance Committee was 
rendezvousing about six miles east of town. 

In the dusky hours of the twilight, sixteen miles away 
in the valley of the Clear Fork, twenty-five well-armed 
men on swift horses, led by John Sillman, rode to the 
rescue of their comrade, John Laren. 

An hour later the tramp of the Vigilance Committee, 
seventy-five strong, could be heard on the trail approach- 
ing the town, determined to visit summary justice on the 
same man. 

Like the calm before the storm, the little village of 
Albany lay quietly sleeping 'neath the starlit sky, while 
the converging forces neared a common goal. 

John Poe, one of the guards, looked at his watch and 
announced n 130 p. m. 

On the outskirts of the town the Vigilance Committee 
halted and sent forward a scout to view the situation. 
He returned and reported that at that moment the guards 


were all within the house except Poe, who was on the 
opposite side. 

At this hour a heavy mist arose and was hanging over 
the valley. Taking advantage of a grove of mesquite 
trees, the committee moved slowly forward, and with 
great caution approached the guardhouse for fear of 
disturbing the inmates. One light shone from a window 
in the Shield's hotel, where Laren's wife kept vigil dur- 
ing the lonely hours of the night. Down in the valley 
of North Prong, west of the town, a body of horsemen 
were riding to a grove under the bluff, where they could 
dismount and tie their horses. 

Up at the guardhouse Poe turned around and faced 
the door, preparatory to announcing 12 o'clock and 
change of guards. Three stalwart masked men emerged 
from the darkness, pinioned Poe's arms and secured his 
weapons. Fifteen or twenty more rushed the door and 
entered the house before the remainder of the guards 
could resist. 

Down in the grove Sillman and his men were tying 
their horses and holding a hasty consultation, pre- 
paratory to an attack to release Laren. 

In the guardhouse sharp, quick words of command 
were uttered by the leader of the committee. 

Laren raised himself upon his elbow and with his black, 
flashing eyes tried to penetrate the masks. The other 
prisoners rolled as far away from him as the chain would 
permit, and turning upon their stomachs hid their faces 
in their arms. 

"Laren," said the leader of the committee, "the time 
has come for you to pass in your checks. You have led 
a dual life on the range and in resorts of the Flat. You 
were associated with a gang that did your dirty work. 
Hundreds of head of beef steers were stolen, butchered 


and their hides thrown in a hole in the Clear Fork near 
your ranch. You are now under arrest for trying to 
assassinate Lancaster. Suspicion strongly points to you 
as the murderer of Wilks and Jones, who built your 
stone fence. Have you anything to say ?" 

"Nothing in the world to say to your cowardly gang," 
replied Laren. "You have sneaked up here in the dark, 
while I am a prisoner, chained and unarmed. If you 
will free me and hand me a Colt's 45, I'll fight the whole 
outfit. And I will assure you there will be a new leader 
to appoint at the head of your gang. But I know there 
is no use parleying with you ; go ahead ; I'll take my 
medicine straight." 

"Well, Laren, in recognition of some of your qualities 
when you were an officer, we have decided not to hang 
you, but will use our shooting irons. Step up, boys, and 
perform your duty." 

Eleven men filed in front of their leader and leveled 
their Winchesters at the doomed man. 

West of the village, on the edge of the bluff, one of 
Sillman's men was reconnoitering when the volley from 
the detail of Vigilantes crashed out on the night air 
and announced the death of Laren. 

At the same moment a piercing scream rang out on the 
hotel veranda, and Laren's wife ran across the inter- 
vening space to the guardhouse, crying, "They have 
killed him !" She made her way through the crowd and 
swooned over his dead body. 

One of the scouts of the Vigilance Committee sighted 
Sillman's gang, but before he could report and the com- 
mittee make a charge on them, the wily leader and his 
men were in their saddles riding west in the darkness, 
exchanging shots with their pursuers until they outdis- 
tanced them and disappeared. 


Kentuck, sleeping in the attic of Jackson's storeroom, 
was aroused by the sound of the volley that killed Laren, 
and rushed to the window as John Poe hurried by. 

"What is the racket, John?" 

"Laren has been killed by the Vigilantes, Kentuck." 

"But I thought you expected Sillman to attempt a 

"So we did, but the Vigilantes arrived first, killed 
Laren and then chased Sillman's gang toward the moun- 
tains, but they were too well mounted and escaped." 

"Where is the Vigilance Committee now?" 

"Gone east." 

"Then there is nothing more doing to-night?" 

"No; it is all off, Kentuck, and you might as well go 
back and turn in ; we will need your services in the morn- 
ing to hold the inquest." 

But the suppressed excitement was too much to per- 
mit sleep, and Kentuck dressed and joined the guard to 
learn the details of the shooting. 

Laren's wife was carried to her room in the hotel and 
the corpse was laid out upon the guardhouse mess board. 

Early the next morning, after Kentuck had viewed the 
remains of Laren, and rendered a verdict that the de- 
ceased came to his death by gunshot wounds inflicted by 
parties unknown, the body was turned over to his wife, 
who secured a hack, and in company with Lawyer Wray 
and an escort of deputies furnished by the sheriff, took 
the trail for Fort Griffin, where a coffin was procured 
and arrangements made to conduct the funeral at the 
Laren ranch, where a tombstone marks the grave to-day. 

The day following the funeral Sheriff Cruger sum- 
moned a posse and started in pursuit of the Sillman gang. 
But after trailing them west ioo miles, the gang scat- 
tered, Sillman and two others striking out across the 
country in the direction of El Paso. 



Six years after these events Captain Arrington and 
his rangers captured Sillman on the western cow trail, 
brought him in and lodged him in the Albany jail, but 
while under escort of the officers at Fort Griffin trying to 
secure bail, he again escaped, going to Old Mexico. 

Nothing more was seen or heard of him until fifteen 
years later, when he came into public notice in El Paso 
as a policeman who killed the notorious John Wesley 
Harding. A few months later Sillman was killed in 
conflict with a State ranger. 

In this manner came the end of two of the desperate 
men who made local history at old Fort Griffin. 

John Laren was a veritable "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." 
He neither drank, swore nor used tobacco, and was a 
perfect gentleman in the presence of ladies. But there 
can be no doubt that he took part in some of the most 
fiendish acts of cruelty in those lawless days. Many 
things came to light after his death that people were 
afraid to disclose while he lived. 

And now, reader, before we pass on and become inter- 
ested in other events set forth in this book, and lest we 
forget to do justice to the brave men of the frontier of 
Texas, who, in the absence of protection under the law, 
were forced to band themselves together for the mutual 
protection of their lives and their property, you and I will 
do well to stop and take an impartial view of the work 
of the Vigilance Committee. 

The country, at the time of the organization, swarmed 
with bad men composed largely of renegades fleeing from 
justice in the older States of the Union, who left a bloody 
trail behind them and came to Texas hoping to escape, 
but generally ended, dying with their boots on, resisting 
the officers, or reaped the vengeance of the Vigilance 
Committee for atrocious crime. 


Outside of the military reservation of Fort Griffin, 
where the commander of the post reigned supreme, very 
little authority existed. Nominally, it is true, there were 
civil officers charged with enforcing the laws, but, in 
fact, without power to carry them into effect. 

When it is understood that the honest, legitimate citi- 
zens were in the minority and scattered over a large area, 
while the thieves, robbers and murderers Were banded 
together and did not hesitate to testify falsely in court 
or waylay and kill witnesses to prevent conviction, the 
necessity to organize a Vigilance Committee to rid the 
community of these lawless characters when the law was 
impotent, at once becomes apparent. 

So far as the memory of Kentuck extended, he did not 
remember a single instance of the wrongful use of the 
power of the Vigilance Committee that operated around 
Fort Griffin. 

But on the contrary, whereas before the committee was 
organized bold depredations were committed and no re- 
dress obtained, six months thereafter life and property 
were as safe as in the most law-abiding community in the 

Lynch law should only be appealed to in an emergency, 
when the conditions admit of no choice between suffering 
the effects of outrages or summarily removing their 



The report of guns and clash of arms echo from the canyon wall, 
And shouts of victory mingle with dying groans as foemen fall. 

A Chapter of Thrilling Events and Narrow Escapes 
in the Early Days 

Leadbetter's Salt Works was for ten years the outpost, 
or, more properly speaking, the point farthest west be- 
tween the white settlements and the wild Indian country 
of Northwest Texas. 

The works were located on the head of Salt creek, 
eight miles west of the town of Albany, on an old mili- 
tary trail that ran through a gap in the mountain range, 
used as a common highway by both the white settlers 
and the Indians traveling to and fro to the open prairie 
in the direction of Old Phantom hill. 

The works were in a small valley, surrounded by rug- 
ged mountain scenery, near a deep water hole, fed by a 
strong saline spring, where the water was raised by a 
force pump into large iron kettles and boiled until crys- 
tallized into salt. 

The discovery of this spring was traditional among 
the Indians, and by reason of it being a resort for the 
wild animals, became the favorite hunting ground for the 
Comanche tribe. 

The scarcity of the necessaries of life during the Civil 
war, and especially salt, that was transported a long dis- 
tance, made the discovery of this spring by the white 


settlers a source of much importance to the Confederate 
forces in North Texas, and a company of rangers were 
stationed at the works. 

Several families took advantage of this arrangement 
and settled in the little valley and made a profit manufac- 
turing salt for the market. During the closing year of 
the war all the families returned to their homes except 
the Leadbetters. 

Consequently, there was almost a continuous warfare 
between the Leadbetter men and the roving bands of 
Comanches. This necessitated the building of three 
blockhouses within easy range of the big kettles. 

The importance of this supply of salt was so great that 
the commander at Fort Griffin loaned Leadbetter a "six- 
pounder" cannon to defend the works. 

But it is not the intention of the author of this volume 
to give a history of the series of conflicts that took place 
during the twelve years from 1865 to 1878 at the salt 

Following up the thread of this narrative, it will be 
interesting to know that the details were told by W. H. 
Leadbetter and his wife to Kentuck during his visits to 
the scene. 

It will be remembered that in a previous chapter de- 
scribing the operations of the Vigilance Committee, men- 
tion was made of Cato, the renegade negro husband of 
Indian Kate. 

Therefore, contemporaneous with events heretofore re- 
lated, a band of twenty-five Comanches, led by Cato, 
attacked the salt works one bright moonlight night. 

When attacked on this occasion Leadbetter and his 
wife and their children were in the blockhouse used as 
the family residence. 

Mrs. Leadbetter loaded the guns while the Judge fired 


through the loopholes at the Indians, who were making 
an effort to break into the storehouse where the supplies 
were kept. But by the aid of a crossfire from the bunk- 
house where the men slept, the Indians, after a de- 
termined .attack, were compelled to retreat, carrying off 
their wounded, including the negro Cato. 

The next morning, while Leadbetter and his men were 
burying the four dead Indians, Lieutenant Turner, in 
command of a squad of cavalry and a band of Tonkawa 
scouts, arrived from Fort Griffin on the trail of the In- 
dians. Halting long enough to prepare a hasty breakfast, 
and feed and water their horses, the troops pushed on 
after the Comanches. 

It was the second day after the salt works fight, when 
Lieutenant Turner's scouts discovered smoke ascending 
from an arroyo near Mountain pass. Chief Johnson and 
two of his scouts pushed on to reconnoiter. The sun had 
disappeared, and a few of the brighter stars were 
twinkling in the sky when the Chief returned. 

"Comanches heap tired; him squaws put tepees close 
to water hole; young warriors herd ponies under bluff; 
old warriors around council fire; no look back and see 
white soldiers on trail; white chief can crawl up; wait 
till the moon come up; go down upon the Comanches 
like mighty wind — shoot — heap kill — Tonkawa scalp bad 
Indians — ugh !" 

Lieutenant Turner listened to Chief Johnson's brief 
report in silence while he smoked his pipe, then arose 
and sent for the sergeant. 

"Sergeant Jones, put three men on guard and quietly 
pass the word to the men to roll up in their blankets and 
take a few hours' rest. 

"Johnson, send Crowfoot up on the mountain to keep 
a sharp lookout in the direction of the Comanches. 


"No fires to-night, Sergeant. Tell the boys to eat hard- 
tack and jerked beef and wash it down with water from 
their canteens ; have the guard call me two hours before 
day. Good-night." 

The only sound that followed this command was a low 
murmur as the word was passed among the soldiers. 

Promptly at the appointed hour the lieutenant and his 
men were awakened and the order given to saddle, mount 
and fall in. 

With dispatch born of discipline, these well-trained 
soldiers were soon ready for their silent march. Like 
specters in the weird starlight, the Tonkawa scouts led 
the way across the open prairie, carefully avoiding the 
high, rocky ground that would give forth sounds to alarm 
the enemy's camp. 

Arriving near where the ground sloped to the arroyo, 
Chief Johnson held up his hand as a signal to halt. The 
Chief and the lieutenant held a brief consultation and 
determined to send an Indian scout to reconnoiter before 
advancing. If the scout reported the Comanches still 
sleeping, the command would move on quietly until dis- 
covered, then make a dash on the camp, and kill and cap- 
ture the entire band if possible. 

Tonkawa Charley was sent forward to spy out the 
situation. He was absent perhaps twenty minutes and re- 
turned to report all quiet. 

So many phantom figures they seemed, floating down 
the gentle slope to the edge of the arroyo overlooking 
the silent scene below. Almost incredible to relate, 
Turner's scouts and soldiers approached so near without 
causing alarm that it seemed that even the dogs failed 
to scent their approach. 

The gray streaks of dawn were tinging the eastern sky 
when the decisive moment arrived. Advancing in open 


formation, the command encircled as near as possible the 
Indian camp to minimize their chances of escape. 

"Charge, double quick!" 

Like an avenging spirit riding on the wings of a storm, 
the soldiers and Tonkawas charged down the side of the 
arroyo, shooting, yelling and riding down the surprised 
Comanches before they could secure their arms and 
ponies. Those not shot down in the first onslaught rallied 
around their chief, and with the courage of desperation 
fought their way to the mouth of the canyon and escaped 
southwest. The fight at the camp did not last over ten 
minutes, the Indians leaving nine dead and three wounded 
on the field, including the negro Cato. Lieutenant Turn- 
er and the soldiers dashed on after the fleeing Co- 
manches, keeping up a running fight for an hour longer. 
The Tonkawas remained behind, killed the wounded and 
scalped those left on the field. 

This severe punishment broke up those moonlight raids 
for about twelve months, giving Leadbetter and his good 
wife a respite. 

Not only is "eternal vigilance the price of liberty," but 
in an Indian country it is the price the settlers pay for 

Consequently, notwithstanding Judge Leadbetter's 
vivid realization from experience, of the necessity of al- 
ways being on guard against attack from his predatory 
visitors, he allowed himself to be lulled into security and 
relaxed many of the ordinary precautions that he had 
always taken in defense of his family and property. 

The months rolled by and there was every indication 
that the Indians had abandoned the Salt creek trail, and 
Leadbetter and his wife allowed their family more lib- 

Time ran smoothly along without any unusual event 


until November. With the help of other ranchmen Judge 
J. C. Lynch had established a school at his home ranch 
on Hubbard's creek, and those living too far away to ride 
to and fro during the day boarded their children with the 
Judge's family. Among the little fellows that made up 
the boarders was Johnny Leadbetter, a shy child who did 
not take kindly to restraint. He had a peculiar habit 
of wandering off by himself, notwithstanding the admoni- 
tions of his teacher and Mrs. Lynch. 

One evening he slipped away so quietly that he was 
not missed until twilight and when searched for, no traces 
of the missing lad could be found. A courier was dis- 
patched immediately to inform Judge Leadbetter and his 
family of the sad occurrence, and Judge Lynch sum- 
moned all men on the ranch to circle the home range in 
hope of finding the lost boy. It was about midnight when 
the courier arrived at the salt works with the sad news. 
And if anything could have added to the sorrow of the 
bereaved parents it was the discovery by the Judge late 
in the evening of Indian signs down by the creek. The 
probability that their son would be captured or killed by 
the redskins added a load of grief they could hardly bear. 
But there was no time for tears and lamentations, for 
there was a remote possibility of finding him wandering 
on the prairie. 

The courier sent out from Lynch's ranch was sent on 
to the Clear Fork to notify the Reynolds and Matthews 
ranch people to join in the search for the lost boy and 
notify the commander at Fort Griffin to send out a scout- 
ing party. 

After the departure of the messenger for the Clear 
Fork, hasty preparations were made for an early start 
to join the Lynch party at the rendezvous in Cow valley. 
And, notwithstanding the anxiety of the Judge to be off, 


essential necessaries must be prepared: Guns, ammuni- 
tion and horses for the outfit; blankets, frying-pan, cof- 
fee pot, tin cups and a supply of grub. There were only 
three available men at the salt works — Leadbetter, Thorn- 
ton and Reynolds. It was agreed that Leadbetter and 
Thornton would take the trail at daylight and Reynolds 
would remain and guard the women and children. There 
was a hasty consultation between Leadbetter and his 
wife, then he and Thornton started out in the uncertain 
light to secure horses for the search on the morrow. The 
fact that they were familiar with the range and that the 
ponies were hoppled out obviated the necessity of waiting 
until morning to find them. In the meantime, Mrs. 
Leadbetter, weeping silent tears, moved listlessly around 
her humble home, making the necessary preparations for 
the journey. 

The streaks of dawn were appearing in the eastern sky 
when Leadbetter and Thornton returned with the ponies. 
The light broadened and a red-purple hue cast a halo of 
glory along the horizon and the first rays of the sun 
made the pearly drops of dew scintillate like diamonds. 

It was an ideal morning, but the beauties of nature 
appealed not to the parents as they stood on the thresh- 
old to say good-by. 

There was a hasty embrace and a smothered sigh as 
the husband parted from his faithful wife to go forth 
on his sad journey. 

The sun in his course had risen above Kiowa peak, 
when Leadbetter and Thornton struck out in a beeline 
for the ford on Hubbard's creek at the crossing on the 
old McKinzie trail. The ponies being fresh, they urged 
them on in a brisk trot over the undulating surface of 
the open prairie until they arrived at the brakes of Hub- 
bard valley. Here the safety of both ponies and riders 


required care in making their way through the under- 
brush of the foothills leading to the valley below. 

So preoccupied was Leadbetter with his thoughts that 
he and Thornton had ridden ten miles in silence, and per- 
haps the silence would have continued but for the start- 
ling report of firearms in the ring of trees that bordered 
the stream. "Listen," said the Judge, as he tightened the 
reins and forced his pony to halt. Thornton also reined- 
in his pony and the two kept a sharp look-out in the di- 
rection from whence the sounds came. Intermittent fir- 
ing was kept up for a few minutes, then a man was seen 
to break cover and dash across a small open space to a 
Iiveoak surrounded by a thicket. As he gained the shel- 
ter of the thicket three puffs of smoke arose from the 
trees and three painted warriors dashed into the opening 
and began to circle the thicket. The fight was on in ear- 
nest now, and Leadbetter and Thornton forced their 
ponies into a run, and at the risk of their lives dashed 
down the steep hillside to the rescue. When within range 
they began to shoot at the Indians, who took alarm and 
escaped up the valley. Hearing nothing and seeing no 
movement in the thicket, Leadbetter and Thornton dis- 
mounted and entered the thicket, where they found 
George Hazlewood dying from a wound in the 
breast. He did not gain consciousness after their arrival, 
and in a few moments drew his last breath, and one more 
name was added to the long list of victims who blazed the 
path of civilization and made it possible to build thou- 
sands of happy homes in Northwest Texas. 

Having no instrument with which to dig a grave, 
Hazlewood's body was tied to Thornton's pony, which he 
led, and they moved slowly up the valley to the McKin- 
zie crossing, where they arrived in time for the noonday 
meal which Lynch and his cowboys were cooking over a 


While sitting on the ground partaking of the frugal 
meal, Leadbetter and Thornton related the details, so 
far as they knew, of the last stand of Hazlewood in the 
liveoak thicket. At that time no one seemed to have 
an idea of how he came to be in the valley, but after can- 
vassing the situation they came to the conclusion that 
he was hunting horses. But later, it was found that 
Ed. Tucker, who carried the news of Johnny Lead- 
better's disappearance to the salt works and, by request 
of the parents, rode on to the Clear Fork, had met 
Hazlewood returning from the fort and informed him 
about the lost boy. Hazlewood expressed a determina- 
tion to join Lynch and the cowboys at the crossing, and 
was on his way when attacked. 

With a mattock and shovel carried with the utensils 
on the pack mule for a like emergency in case they found 
the remains of the boy mutilated by the Indians, Hazle- 
wood's body was buried. 

This sad occurrence made every one in the outfit recog- 
nize the necessity of moving with more caution, and to 
keep a sharp lookout for an ambush. If Tucker went 
through to the Clear Fork in safety, they could reason- 
ably expect the men from the Matthews and Reynolds 
ranches to camp with them in Cow valley at sunset. 

It was the close of the evening, and the sun's fiery 
crest was sinking behind dark clouds when the outfit 
broke camp in Cow valley. 

They were now on an elevated plateau where 
they could see the surrounding country for miles in all 
directions, and it was the part of good judgment to halt 
long enough to take observations. 

It did not take these experienced plainsmen long to 
convince themselves that nothing suspicious presented 
itself, and that they must hasten if they wished to ar- 


rive at the deep water hole at the old Gonzolas ranch 
before darkness set in. The unspoken question upper- 
most in each man's mind as they began to descend into 
the valley was, Would the Matthews and Reynolds outfit 
arrive on time? 

Judge Leadbetter, always in the lead, eager and alert, 
halted on a knoll and beckoned Lynch to his side. 

"Lynch, is that not a bunch of horses across Dry 
branch, near the old bed-ground, just to the left of the 
rocky ledge? Your eyes are better than mine — take a 
look. What do you see ?" 

"You are right, Judge, and if my eyes do not deceive 
me, they are hoppled out. I'm certain they are not Indian 
ponies or they would be loose herded by a warrior." 

"Then Joe Matthews and Ben Reynolds are already in 
Camp and we must hasten on." 

Gathering up the reins they spurred on their tired 
ponies down the gentle slope through the broom weeds, 
in a straight line for the camping place. 

The last streaks of daylight were fading and the stars 
were sparkling in the sky when they reined in their ponies 
and dismounted near the Matthews-Reynolds camp. 

There were greetings all around, the ponies unsaddled 
and hoppled, and turned loose on the grass. Abundance 
to supply the wants of the inner man was set before the 
hungry men. When all were satisfied and pipes lighted 
for the evening's smoke, the probability of the boy being 
still alive and captured by the Indians seemed to be the 
most reasonable conclusion of the disappearance of John- 
ny Leadbetter. 

Accepting this as a basis, plans were discussed for his 
rescue. In the meantime Lieutenant Turner and five 
Tonkawas, including Chief Johnson, accompanied by Ed. 
Tucker and Luke McCabe, arrived in camp. 


Being the dark of the moon, it was useless to attempt 
to continue the search during the night. Consequently, 
arrangements were perfected by which a guard of four 
men were selected to loose herd the ponies and keep a 
sharp lookout for Indians. These men would be relieved 
at midnight. By unanimous consent Lieutenant Turner 
took command of the outfit. 

The pipes had been refilled and an animated discussion 
indulged in around the camp fire relative to the best way 
to protect life and property against the marauding bands 
that were continually preying on the settlers. Some sug- 
gested that the killing off of the buffalo, that had been 
so long the Indian's commissary, would end the raids. 
Others favored the government's plan of keeping them 
on a reservation, and, in addition to the present restric- 
tions, to deprive them of the privilege of sending out 
hunting parties. 

During the conversation indulged in by the white men, 
that bronze-faced old Indian warrior, Chief Johnson, sat 
in silence with the rings of smoke curling up from his 
long-stem pipe, without any indication that he heard, 
much less followed, the argument. He was leaning 
against the gnarled trunk of a liveoak tree. A leader of 
men, a brave and daring scout, Johnson was one of those 
noble red men who had withstood the temptations of 
civilization and retained all the manly vigor of his primi- 
tive race. He was more than six feet tall, with all the 
easy grace of an athlete. It was said that his mother was 
a Comanche squaw, captured during one of the early 
battles between the tribes, who became the wife of the 
Tonkawa medicine man Campo. Be that as it may, when 
Johnson was a young warrior he distinguished himself in 
a fight at the Adobe Walls and was made war chief of 
the Tonkawa tribes. 

CHIEF JOHNSON. (Page 126.) 


The camp fire had burned low, a faint breeze from the 
south was stirring the leaves, when Leadbetter, who had 
the greatest respect for the chief's judgment, turned to 
Johnson and said: 

"Johnson, tell me what Indian think?" 

Taking his pipe from his mouth and tapping it lightly 
upon the stock of his gun, Johnson slowly arose to his 
feet and said : 

"White man, he make heap chin music — Indian no 
much talk, him trail, him go ahead — white man him 
great mind, heap powwow, make medicine — Indian scout 
see bad Indian moccasin tracks, him follow, white man 
come behind — scout see many bad Indians over hill, crawl 
up, hear heap bad powwow, come back tell white man — 
bad Indians him not see — white man him come in night — 
heap noise, heap big fight." 

The circle around the camp fire now broke up, and all 
save the guard rolled up in their blankets and were soon 

Midnight, change of the guards, and the camp was 
in profound silence, except for that indescribable hum 
of nature that pervades the night air in a prairie coun- 
try; 3 o'clock, streaks of the morning light — once more 
the camp was filled with the noise of awakened men 
preparing for a strenuous day of activity. 

Breakfast over, a hasty consultation between Turner, 
Leadbetter and Chief Johnson, then a hurrying to and 
fro, saddling ponies, packing the camp equipment and 
they were ready to go. 

On over the prairie, led by Johnson, they moved along 
and at each crossing of the buffalo trail they paused to 
examine for Indian signs, and it was noon again when 
they came in sight of Uncle George Greer's ranch at the 
crossing of the old Overland trail on Hubbard's creek. 



For years this had been one of the stage stands where 
the horses were changed and passengers enjoyed such 
accommodations as the meager supplies afforded. 

The stage stand was kept by Uncle George Greer, more 
as a convenience for himself and neighboring ranchmen 
than with any expectation of a profit. Through this me- 
dium they received their mail and such supplies in the 
way of medicine and such articles as could be conven- 
iently carried by the driver. 

This gave Uncle George a wide reputation for hospi- 
tality, which he never failed to carry out. 

Consequently, when the outfit halted for the noonday 
meal, Uncle George insisted on killing a fat yearling 
for the occasion. 

He reported that he had discovered fresh Indian tracks 
that morning at the crossing, but so many cattle had . 
been there since that no trace was now visible. 

After comparing notes, all agreed that the Indians had 
scattered into small prowling bands, over the Hubbard, 
North and South Prong valleys, with the intention of 
rounding up at some central point with a bunch of stolen 
horses. Therefore, it became necessary for Lieutenant 
Turner to divide his men into scouting parties, and if 
they did not overtake any of the Comanches, they were 
to follow the trails to the Indian rendezvous. This 
seemed to be the only plan to find traces of the lost boy, 
provided that he had been captured. Jim and Cal Greer, 
sons of Uncle George, joined the little band led by Judge 
Leadbetter, numbering five, including Chief Johnson and 
Sub-Chief Charley. 

As the Judge was anxious about the safety of his wife, 
he was given the privilege of pushing on to the Salt 
Creek valley. 

Two miles from the Greer ranch Johnson found pony 


tracks that he declared were Comanche signs. With 
Johnson and Charley in the lead, they followed the trail 
to the mouth of North Prong, where it emptied into Salt 
Prong. Here the accumulation of pony tracks indicated 
that the band Johnson had followed was joined by an- 
other band coming from the direction of where Hazle- 
wood was killed, making a strong force for Leadbetter 
and his companions to attach. 

A brief consultation was held, and although it required 
a detour from the original route marked out, Leadbetter 
determined to follow this trail up North Prong to see 
what new deviltry the raiders were up to. At that time 
none of the cattlemen had established a home ranch on 
North Prong, although there were a few dugouts at the 
most convenient water holes along the stream occupied 
by the line riders during bad weather. The Comanches 
left a plain trail behind them, consequently, Leadbetter's 
outfit moved rapidly up the stream to a bend near where 
the town of Albany now stands. One of the deepest and 
longest water holes on North Prong was located at this 
bend. A low, flat mountain range ran from east to west 
and came within a quarter of a mile of a dense grove of 
trees and undergrowth of bushes on both banks of the 
water hole. Necessary caution was exercised in ap- 
proaching this grove to avoid a possible ambush. Con- 
cealed from observation by the mesquite trees growing in 
the flat, Johnson and Charley were sent ahead to see if 
the Indians were in the grove. While waiting their re- 
turn, Joe Batts and negro Andy, from the Snalum dug- 
out, came in sight and soon joined the outfit. Within 
fifteen minutes Johnson and Charley returned and re- 
ported that the Comanches had watered their ponies at 
the hole and had gone on up the creek toward the divide 
between North Prong and Salt creek. On this assurance 


Leadbetter's outfit rode into the grove. Evidently the 
Indians had ridden around the bluff and doubled on their 
trail, for when Leadbetter's outfit had watered, and rode 
on to the edge of the thicket facing the mountains, the 
Comanches came charging down the valley, yelling and 
shooting. Taken by surprise and entangled among the 
catclaws and bushes, Leadbetter's men were thrown into 
confusion, and each man broke for cover and shielded 
himself as best he could. Negro Andy was shot through 
the left arm, but fortunately no one was killed. Instead 
of returning to the attack, the Comanches galloped on 
down the valley, and swinging to the right passed out of 
sight in the direction of the salt works. As soon as 
Leadbetter and his companions could clear the thicket, 
they rode up a steep cow trail to the top of the mountain 
and dashed at full speed across the divide, hoping to ar- 
rive before the Indians could attack the almost defenseless 

When they mounted to the level on the table land, the 
Comanches were in sight two miles to the left, gradually 
circling toward the works. By making a dash in a 
straight line, Leadbetter had the advantage by one-half 

The importance of being first to arrive at the cut 
through the rock ledge leading into the salt works can- 
yon seemed to be equally as well understood by the In- 
dians as it was by the white men in this wild race across 
the flat top of the mountain. Once over the brow of the 
mountain among the shelving rocks, "one could hold 
ten, and ten put a hundred to flight." 

As the converging lines of the Indians and the whites 
were drawing near the goal it became evident that a run- 
ning fight could not be avoided. 

Already the Comanches were within shooting distance 


of the Spencer carbines of the Leadbetter party, but they 
did not care to take chances on wasting ammunition. 
The Indians, too, although they unslung their rifles and 
were prepared to give the white men a warm reception, 
were loth to begin the fight. 

Johnson, knowing the great odds against the Leadbet- 
ter party, said, "Leadbetter, me shoot, kill him Comanche 
Chief. Bad Indians all stop and powwow ; white man he 
go over mountain; bad Indian he no follow." 

"All right, Johnson, shoot!" 

The old chief raised his rifle to his shoulder and fired, 
but the distance being greater than his calculations, the 
bullet ranged down and killed the chief's horse. But this 
had the desired effect, for, during the confusion among 
the Comanches that followed, the white men reached the 
cut through the rock bluff and dashed over the edge of 
the steep decline, amid a harmless shower of bullets. 

The Comanches gave up any further attempt and de- 
toured farther west, where the ground was more favor- 
able for descent, and did not return in the vicinity of the 
salt works, preferring to strike the trail higher up the 
canyon. In the meantime, Leadbetter and his men ar- 
rived at the ranch and found everything safe. 

Mrs. Leadbetter had lived too long on the frontier to 
ask useless questions, and merely shook her head when 
asked if there were any tidings from the other searching 

After a brief rest Leadbetter and his men pushed on 
to the head of the canyon to the final rendezvous of the 
searching parties. 

It was noon again the third day after Johnny Lead- 
better's disappearance, when Lieutenant Turner, the Ton- 
kawas and the friends and neighbors of Judge Leadbet- 
ter, assembled on the open prairie where the trail passed 
out of Salt Creek canyon. 


No traces of the boy had been found, and all agreed 
that the Comanches had passed out of the valley into the 
open country, and, as the outfit was not prepared for a 
long journey, the search was abandoned. 

The rocks at the head of the canyon were casting long 
shadows down the trail when Bill Leadbetter came in 
sight of his humble home, in the valley of Salt creek, 
where for the past ten years he had braved the hardships 
of frontier life. He could see his wife's figure in front of 
the door, with her hand shading her eyes as she looked 
up the trail, and his heart sank within him when he con- 
templated the sorrowful greeting of his home-coming. 

The years passed by, but no tidings ever came to the 
parents from their lost boy, and his fate is a sealed mys- 
tery to this day, notwithstanding that on one occasion, 
several years afterward, a strange young man tried to 
establish his claim to being the lost Johnny Leadbetter. 

Some time during the year 1879 Judge Leadbetter 
abandoned the salt works and moved to his ranch on the 
Clear Fork above Fort Griffin, where his descendants 
still live. 



He came from the South like a knight of old, 
This native-born Texan so noble and so bold. 

After remaining six months in Fort Griffin, Kentuck 
was offered and accepted the position of justice of the 
peace of Precinct No. I, including the county seat, the 
embryo town of Albany, near the center of the county. 

This was a town by name only, consisting of three 
picket houses with dirt tops, and a long, rambling barn 
constructed with pickets, by courtesy called the court- 

It was July, the midsummer of Northwest Texas, when 
Kentuck took charge of the office and settled down to 
the humdrum life foreshadowed by a lack of legal busi- 

About this time there arrived in Albany a young man 
nicknamed "Texas," by reason of the fact that he came 
from a town in Southern Texas, where he was born, 
raised and graduated. Texas and Kentuck became fast 
friends and boon companions, and for ten years active 
participants in passing events. 

Texas was a whole-souled young man, generous to a 
fault ; brave and true, always ready to back up a friend 
or face an enemy. 

Soon after his arrival on the frontier he secured em- 
ployment as a cowboy on Lyle's ranch, where he made a 
host of friends and a few bitter enemies. 


A few months after he began work it became generally 
known that he had fallen in love with the ranchman's 
pretty daughter, Mollie, and that she showed her prefer- 
ence for this bold, dashing cow puncher, who accom- 
panied her on many a wild race over the prairie. But 
their courtship proved the truth of the old adage, "that 
the course of true love never runs smooth." For not 
only did Texas have rivals for the fair hand of the viva- 
cious Mollie, but her parents, especially her father, ob- 
jected to his attentions. But Texas was made of a na- 
ture as true as steel. And notwithstanding he was dis- 
charged and told that he could serve a better purpose by 
leaving the range, he remained in Albany in defiance of 
the irate father and threatening rivals. 

On more than one occasion a casual remark made him 
drop his hand upon the handle of his six-shooter and face 
his enemy with the cold glitter of steel in his eyes, but 
the kindly intervention of a mutual friend always 
smoothed over the quarrel that only needed a spark to 
burst into a flame. 

The greater the effort of the ranchman to break the at- 
tachment of Texas and Mollie, the more determined were 
the lovers to overcome the difficulties thrown in their 
way. Many were their trysting places, and the hollow of 
an old liveoak on the open prairie did duty as post office. 

One of Texas' most bitter enemies was Sam O'Carry, 
Ranchman Lyle's range boss, who foresaw in a marriage 
between Texas and Mollie a chance of being superseded. 
Consequently, he never lost an opportunity of throwing 
out a covert insult when Texas formed one of a group 
of men. 

O'Carry had the name of being a bad man, and it was 
reported that he had more than one notch on the handle 
of his gun to remember the demise of those who opposed 


him. One condition of the game was in Texas' favor, 
and that was that the majority of Lyle's cowboys were 
his personal friends, and were sure to warn him of 
O'Carry's threats. Of course, instead of pacifying mat- 
ters, the good intentions of these friends only aggra- 
vated the situation. In the meantime O'Carry came to 
the conclusion that Texas was afraid of him, and began 
to push his hatred on to the point of action, no doubt 
encouraged by Lyle with the hope of being rid of this 
determined young man. 

The climax came one bright day in the fall of the year. 
Texas and Kentuck were returning from a ride up the 
valley of Salt Prong, where they had been shooting 
prairie chickens. As they approached the old Indian trail 
they saw one of Lyle's outfit, led by O'Carry, coming 
across the mesa. Ed. Zucker, one of the "flying buzzard" 
cowboys, had informed Texas the day before that O'Carry 
had boasted that both of them could not remain on the 
same range — one would be compelled to make tracks — 
there was not room for both. 

Before they came within speaking distance Texas 
turned sideways in his saddle and remarked : 

"Kentuck, I'm tired of this everlasting wrangle with 
old man Lyle. And especially I am tired of the threats 
of this man O'Carry, who talks and acts the part of a 
cowardly bully. I haven't any doubt that if he had the 
'drop' on me he would not hesitate to kill me in cold 
blood. Men like O'Carry generally get their reputation 
that way. But I don't believe that he will stand up, man 
to man, and take an even chance. Therefore, Kentuck, 
I'm going to call his hand to-day, and if he antes, one of 
us will leave this range. If it should be me, old man, 
send this package of letters to Mollie ; tell her how it 
happened, then write to the old folks in Southern Texas. 


Now, here they come — No, not one word of protest, Ken- 
tuck ; my mind is made up." 

Shifting his six-shooter to an easy position for quick 
action, Texas rode deliberately up to O'Carry, who, 
though surprised, dropped his hand to the handle of his 
six-shooter, pulled his horse to one side and stopped. 

Texas looked him square in the eye, and said, "O'Car- 
ry, I have an account of long standing to settle with you. 
The longer it runs the bigger it seems to grow. I have 
come to the conclusion that now is a good time to close 
that account. You have made your boast that there is 
not room for both of us on this range. Of course, you 
must be prepared to make good, for you have a 'rep' to 
sustain. The question is, Are you ready?" Then, ad- 
dressing Kentuck and Lyle's cowboys, he continued: 
"Boys, this is not your quarrel; hands off and see fair 

O'Carry had not spoken a word, or even moved a 
muscle, except to blink his eyes, as though he did not 

In the meantime Texas had dismounted, and was un- 
tying a silk kerchief from around his neck. The cow- 
boys and Kentuck pulled their ponies to one side and 
watched the two with anxious suspense, for the unwrit- 
ten law of the frontier forbade them to interfere. 

After removing his kerchief, Texas once more ad- 
dressed O'Carry, in a cool, deliberate voice that seemed 
to carry a deadly message in every word: 

"O'Carry, dismount if you are going to back Up your 
'rep' as a killer. Pull out your shooting iron and take 
hold of this kerchief. I'll count three and we will begin 
to shoot and keep it up till one of us quits the range for- 

It was the tragic moment, and all eyes were turned on 


O'Carry, but he did not move. His ruddy countenance 
became ashen-gray. The silence became painful, but 
O'Carry seemed glued to his saddle and helpless as an 

Once more Texas' voice broke the stillness. This time 
it was one of contempt. And as he looked with scorn 
at the collapsed figure of O'Carry, he said, "O'Carry, I'm 
not going to crow over a coward. Your conduct will 
reap its own reward. You know what it is to show the 
'white feather' on this range." Then, with the easy 
grace of the skilled rider, Texas remounted his pony, 
waved a farewell to the outfit and joined Kentuck and the 
two rode on to town. 

The situation had been so tense that neither was in- 
clined to talk and they rode the entire distance in silence. 

News like this travels fast, even in a sparsely settled 
district on the frontier of Texas, and in an incredibly 
short time it was the one subject of conversation when- 
ever two or more cowboys met on the range. 

It was not long before it was known at Lyle's head- 
quarters ranch on Hubbard creek. There was something 
of a scene when Mollie's admiration broke over all 
bounds and she openly defied parental authority and de- 
clared her intention of marrying Texas. Her mother, 
who had secretly encouraged her daughter from the 
start, now joined in the rebellion. Old man Lyle, an ex- 
soldier and scout, was a fine old Irish gentleman, and 
though he openly spluttered and fumed, secretly admired 
the bravery of his prospective son-in-law. 

O'Carry only stopped long enough on his return to 
settle up, then joined a trail herd for Kansas. 

From this time on Texas began to grow in grace and 
favor, not only among the cattlemen and cowboys, but 
with the county officials, and was appointed deputy coun- 
ty clerk. 


The legitimate population of Albany was not more than 
twenty, all told, though on court days and gala occasions 
it was augmented into the hundreds. Texas had become 
very popular and a leading promoter of all kinds of 
amusements for the entertainment of the surrounding 
country. As soon as he became installed as deputy clerk, 
he began an active campaign for a three-days tournament. 

This sport is peculiarly suited to frontier life and al- 
ways appeals to the cowboy. To him it has all the charm 
of chivalry that induced the knights of old to break a 
lance in the arena, and he thinks nothing of riding hun- 
dreds of miles to be present on these occasions. 

It was Kentuck's good fortune to be placed on the 
committee of arrangements, and for two months in ad- 
vance the different committees were busy making prep- 
arations for the coming event. In the meantime, on every 
ranch within 200 miles of Albany the boys who desired 
to enter the contest had erected poles and were practicing 
and training their ponies. 

The star riders of each outfit went into training for 
the coming contest. At least an hour each day was de- 
voted to riding at full speed over a straight 150-yard 
track, and with a long wooden lance picking a ring each 
from five dangling wires, the rules requiring the con- 
testant to ride over the course three times and secure 
(five rings each time to make a perfect record. 

By common consent Texas was chosen a free lance, to 
represent Albany. And almost every evening Kentuck 
watched him mount his favorite pony, a wiry little mus- 
tang that had a record in local races. Texas and Buck- 
skin made an attractive picture, as they raced over the 
150-yard course. With the rare skill of a born rider, 
Texas never failed to take three, frequently four, and 
sometimes five rings. 


One evening when Texas had mounted his pony pre- 
paratory to an hour's practice, the overland stage carry- 
ing the weekly mail came in sight. In anticipation of this 
event, a crowd of ranchmen and cowboys were lounging 
around Papa Barre's hotel. When the jaded team drew 
up before the door, a tall, gray-haired stranger opened 
the stage door and with rapid strides entered the picket 
house. And though the arrival of a stranger was an un- 
usual sight in those days, beyond a casual glance no one 
seemed to notice him. It was only when the driver 
whipped up his tired horses and started to the shack 
known as the store and post office, that Texas spurred 
his pony alongside of the driver and said : 

"Say, Bill, who is that guy you brought over this trip?" 

"That's no guy, Texas. Why, that's Colonel Tolbert, 
from Fort Worth; owns part of the Lytle herd that 
ranges west of Phantom hill. He's going to stay here 
until the thuck' wagon comes over from the ranch next 
week. Then he is going out there to rough it for a while. 
Oh, he's a jim-dandy, Texas — do to tie to, sure ; plumb 
sociable all the way over — ain't stuck up — carries a bottle 
of firewater in his little dinky satchel, and it is loaded 
wi'th pison, good truck, too." 

"Well, if you say so, Bill, I guess he's all right. He 
tooks like the right sort to me." 

Texas then wheeled his pony around and rode slowly 
back to the hotel, where Dave Gardner was doing the 
agreeable by introducing the Colonel to all hands and the 

Nothing wins the confidence of the free and easy cow- 
boy so quick as a responsive spirit. Consequently, no 
sooner had Colonel Tolbert acknowledged the introduc- 
tion than he dropped into the conversation without a mo- 
ment's delay. He neither took the lead nor waited for an 


opening, but always said the right thing at the proper 
time, and with agreeable manner and smiling counte- 

There were at least twenty present when the Colonel 
capped the climax and forged a bond of friendship with 
the whole outfit by inviting them over to Alex Laslie's 
to take a drink. 

"It is my set 'em up, boys," he said as he led the way. 

And from that time hence for a number of years the 
annual visit of Colonel Tolbert was an occasion to be 
celebrated by the cow punchers of the local range. 

He entered into all their sports with a hearty good will ; 
often tripping the light fantastic all night, notwithstand- 
ing he was old enough to be the grandfather of the sweet 
sixteen who was his willing partner in the dance. 

It was the -first week in November when the cowboys 
from the surrounding ranches began to arrive and camp 
near the town, preparatory to the grand tournament. 

Invitations had been extended to the officers and men at 
Fort Griffin, and several officers and their wives had ac- 
cepted. A bugler was sent from the post to call the con- 
testants together each morning and noon and to signal 
the start of each over the track. 

The ranchmen with their wives and children came in 
covered wagons prepared to camp. The evening before 
the first day there were 300 on the ground. Negro Andy 
and a half-dozen other negroes were barbecuing five 
beeves over a long pit of live coals, and the savory smell 
permeated the whole atmosphere, whetting the appetites 
of the people for the delicious meat to be served to every 
one who desired a piece. A large brush arbor had been 
built in front of the old picket courthouse, and an Italian 
string band secured from Fort Griffin to make music for 
the young folks who cared to dance away the hours of 


the evening. The weather was perfect and a full moon 
made the nights lovely. 

It was the evening before the first day of the tourna- 
ment that Kentuck met Texas and Mollie strolling along 
the outskirts of the town. It was Kentuck's first intro- 
duction to Mollie, and he was well pleased to find her all 
that Texas had painted her in the glowing pictures he 
presented during their confidential talks. 

Mollie was a medium-sized brunette and a perfect 
specimen of a healthy maiden, frank as a child and as 
fearless as the most daring spirit that roamed the prairie. 
No wonder that she captured Texas, heart, body and 
soul. Kentuck could not help expressing his admiration 
for this sprightly, vivacious little woman, much to Texas' 

But it was the next morning when Kentuck saw her 
on horseback that he became profuse in his praise. She 
was riding her favorite bay, a perfect specimen of the de- 
scendants of the Arab horses turned loose by the Spanish 
conquerors in the days of Cortez. The spirited little ani- 
mal had been groomed until his shining coat reflected 
the rays of the sun. He fairly danced in his eagerness 
for a morning's gallop. And while the twitching of his 
black, pointed ears and the scintillating fire in his black 
eyes told the nervous tension under restraint, he obeyed 
fhe soft spoken words of his mistress with the faithful 
trust of a child in its mother. 

But it was Mollie who captured the eyes of Kentuck 
and held him spellbound as he watched her movements 
preparatory to mounting her pony. She was no longer 
the vivacious little maid of the evening before, but a 
queenly woman, conscious of her power to command not 
only the adoration of her cowboy friends but admiration 
even from her own sex. 


Dressed in a neat habit of dark blue, with here and 
there a dash of red, a red bow on her hat and a narrow 
red ribbon around her neck, brass buttons and red facing 
over her bust, furnished the necessary contrast to com- 
plete a beautiful riding habit. 

Everybody partook of the spirit of the occasion, and 
the entire camp ground was alive with a merry, jolly 
crowd of men, women and children. 

It was 8 a. m. when the bugler sounded the grand en- 
semble preparatory to beginning the day's sport. 

Messrs. J. C. Lynch, J. A. Matthews and G. W. Greer 
were selected to decide the contests. George Wilhelm 
was appointed timekeeper and sheriff Henry Jacobs was 
master of ceremonies. 

There were nine entries, representing the different 
ranches, and Texas in the capacity of a free lance to 
challenge the winner. 

It was indeed a gala scene, and presented an animated 
picture on that bright autumn morning. A rarefied at- 
mosphere was tempered by a genial sun, and a gentle 
breeze laden with all the refreshing purity of the vast 
expanse of prairie made the nerves tingle and the blood 
course freely through the veins of young and old. A 
clear sky, a bright sun, a golden carpet of luxuriant grass, 
lent a charm to the combination of color that would have 
tempted the brush of an artist, and all the inspiration was 
present to call forth the muse from the realm of poetry. 
Nature had furnished the foreground and background, 
and it only required the bugler's call to endow the whole 
scene with that dash of frontier life that might have in- 
spired Frederic Remington to produce the masterpiece 
of the age. 

The scene of the tournament, on a small plateau over- 
looking the valley of North Prong, possessed all the ad- 
vantages necessary to the success of the sport. 


Five poles were set in the ground thirty yards apart, 
making a straight run of 150 yards. Six men were ap- 
pointed by Judge Lynch, three at each end of the line 
of poles, to keep the time of the starting and ending of 
each contestant's run, and report to Wilhelm, the score 
timekeeper. The rules required the horses to be ridden at 
full speed, the time limit to be not less than thirty seconds. 
The contestants were dressed in close-fitting jockey suits, 
with bright sashes representing the colors adopted by 
each ranch. Texas wore green, in honor of Mollie's 
Irish ancestors. To make the skill of the knights more 
difficult to maintain, the horses were unsaddled and the 
knights required to ride bareback. The lances were 
seven feet long, tapering to a sharp point, to allow the 
rings to slide easily over the point and halfway down the 
lance. The rider grasped the lance near the middle with 
his right hand and allowed the butt end to rest beneath 
his elbow to steady his aim. The rings were hung from 
wires suspended from arms on the posts. 

When all was ready the knights grouped near the 
starting point and waited to be called in the order of 
their entry. 

The spectators were lined along each side of the tour- 
nament track, and made a picturesque setting for the 

The prize to be awarded on the first day was a silver 
mounted saddle, valued at $100. 

When all the preparations were completed and the air 
of expectancy hushed the babble of voices, all eyes were 
turned to where Judge Lynch, surrounded by the other 
judges, were in consultation. Near by, to their right, 
were the guests of honor. Among them were General 
Buell, commander of the fort, and his wife ; several other 
officers, their wives and accompanying young ladies, and 


thirty yards distant an escort of thirty cavalrymen. On 
the opposite side of the starting point were the ladies 
representing the different ranches and the few ladies of 
Albany. Groups of ranchmen and cowboys were scat- 
tered on either side, betting on their favorites. Near 
the winning post were Chief Johnson and several braves 
and squaws of the Tonkawa tribe. 

Sheriff Jacobs, as a last precaution, rode along the 
track and admonished every one to keep a safe distance 
from the running horses, for fear one might fly the track 
and run over some one. 

Judge Lynch now stepped in front of the judges and, 
holding up his hand to command silence, announced that 
Ed. Tucker, representing the "Flying Buzzard" brand, 
would lead off in the contest. 

Tucker, a small, wiry, swarthy young man mounted 
on a black, prancing broncho, rode to the starting point 
thirty feet from the first post, amid the cheers from the 
cowboys of his home ranch. 

The bugler, standing a short distance from Judge 
Lynch, was ready to give the signal. 

Tucker discarded his hat and bound a red silk 'ker- 
chief around his head and, with only a blanket and one 
girth for a saddle adjusted his lance in position. 

All was now ready and a hush of expectancy hovered 
over the scene. Judge Lynch raised a white 'kerchief 
and dropped it to his side and the bugler gave one sharp, 
short blast on his horn. The fiery little black sprang 
forward with an impetus that would have unseated a 
less skilled rider, but Tucker held the reins loose in his 
left hand, and seemed to guide his pony with the pressure 
of his knees clamped to its withers. He missed the first 
two rings, took the third and fourth and missed the fifth. 
On his second dash he took four, and on his last run 
over the track captured all. 


Then followed Tom Greer, representing the "Circle 
G" brand, who made thirteen out of the possible fifteen. 

Luke McCabe, representing the "Bar M." ranch fol- 
lowed and only scored ten. 

Mike Kegan, of the "Half Circle W.," dropped down 
to eight. 

Bill Johnson, of the "M. J.," scored nine and his pony- 
flew the track. 

Glen Reynolds, of the "R. M.," tied Tom Greer at 

Zeno Hemphill, of the "101," marked up twelve to his 

Harvey Biggs, of the "J. R.," from Red Mud, scored 

Bill Lasser, of the "X.," only marked up ten. 

Charley Jones, representing the "D. C," was unhorsed 
after making six. 

Roe Lefflett, the champion of the "Pitchfork" brand, 
came within one of being perfect, having scored four- 

Jim Greer, the last on the list, refused to run against 
Lefflett's score. 

All eyes were now turned to where Texas stood apart 
from the crowd, holding Buckskin by the bridle. 

Judge Lynch then stepped forward and said : "Are 
the people now ready for the judges to award the prize, 
or is there an unknown knight who would dare to chal- 
lenge the winner?" 

The crowd responded by shouting for Texas. 

"Then let this unknown knight come forth to do bat- 
tle with our champion, or else we do proclaim the prize 
already won." 

With the grace of a trained athlete, Texas vaulted to 
the back of Buckskin and riding up in front of the judges 


said, "I challenge your right, most excellent judge, to 
award the prize in this contest before I have tested the 
skill of the winner." 

Then turning to the crowd, Judge Lynch said, "Is it 
your will that this unknown knight meet our champion 
in the field?" 

"Be it so! Be it so!" they all shouted. 

"Be it so, the people have spoken; take your place, 
Sir Knight, and may the best man win." 

Texas rode to the first post, then in a straight line to 
the thirty feet starting point, and instead of turning to 
face the track remained with the pony's head in the op- 
posite direction until the bugle announced the time. 

Then the crowd witnessed a magnificent feat of horse- 

With his lance gracefully at rest beneath his right 
elbow, and grasped firmly with his right hand, he pulled 
Buckskin up on his hind feet and swung him around as 
though on a pivot, and urged him forward at full speed. 

Click, click, click, click, click — the five rings were 
taken and three seconds to spare. 

Twice more Texas and Buckskin dashed over the track 
with the same results — a perfect score. 

Then there went up a mighty shout of exultation, and 
even the stoical Indian braves let out a warwhoop to 
express their approval. 

There was no jealousy among those cowboy rivals, 
and with one accord they rushed up to Texas, pulled him 
from Buckskin and lifted him upon their shoulders, and 
with LerBett leading Buckskin, marched around the 
grounds. Kentuck turned and looked at Mollie and was 
not surprised to see the little lady dancing around and 
positively radiant with animated pleasure. 

After the excitement wore off the crowd broke up into 


small groups and the ladies repaired to the arbor, where 
they began to unpack hampers of pies, cakes and deli- 
cacies to flank the barbecued meat, bread and coffee, to 
be served on an improvised table in the courthouse. 

The ranchmen and their wives superintended the dis- 
tributing of edibles, and not one was forgotten. Soldiers, 
cowboys and Indians were supplied with an abundance. 
Good cheer and good fellowship prevailed, during the 
entire three days' sport. There was no conventionality 
and no restraint to mar the free and easy enjoyment of 
the occasion. 

After the noonday feast the Italian band furnished 
music for all who cared to dance. Others engaged in 
impromptu pony races and games of different kinds. 

General Buell and his escort, accompanied by the 
ladies of the garrison, departed for the fort at 3 p. m., 
highly delighted with their outing, and promising to give 
the other officers and their wives a chance to come on 
the morrow. 

Those three days and nights tournament will live in 
the memory of Kentuck so long as he is permitted to 
recall the names of the whole-souled people who entered 
into the enjoyment. 

From this time on Albany began to grow and clamor 
for recognition among the towns on the Texas frontier. 
A doctor, a druggist, a blacksmith and a school teacher 
settled in town. Papa Barr purchased an officers' tent 
at the fort and enlarged his hotel accommodations. One 
firm in Griffin moved a portable house from Denison and 
established a branch mercantile house in Albany. A 
cowboy named Alex. Lasley opened up a saloon, 
and was also elected commissioner. 

Lasley's place was a fount where the thirsty could 
procure fire water, the sports throw dice and play cards, 


and any wandering couple desiring- to enter the state 
of matrimony could have the preliminaries attended to 
between drinks by calling in Kentuck, who had become 
proficient in performing marriage ceremonies and hold- 
ing inquests. 

It was so distressingly healthy in these days of the 
white man's preemption of the Indians' right of eminent 
domain, that Doctor Shelton found but little use for his 
profession, and spent two-thirds of his time hunting and 
fishing. Once in a great while, as a good lady remarked, 
he officiated at a birth. But as a rule, his practice was 
confined to dressing gunshot wounds. 

A very amusing situation grew out of the young doc- 
tor's use of Latin terms in making out his bill for prac- 
tice in the sheriff's family. 

As there was no money in circulation until the sale of 
beef in the fall, indebtedness was only settled once a 
year. From the time of the birth of the sheriff's 
first child in January until the following No- 
vember was ten months. So it happened that when the 
doctor made out his bill the sheriff was away from home 
trailing a band of horse thieves, and the doctor desiring 
to make a trip to the buffalo range, sealed the bill in an 
envelope and dropped it into the post office. In due 
time Sheriff Jacobs returned, and among other mail mat- 
ter received the doctor's bill. One of the first items that 
claimed his attention was, "to one case of obstetrics, ten 
dollars." Not being a Latin scholar, the sheriff was 
puzzled and could not make heads or tails of it, and de- 
termined to investigate. 

About two weeks later the doctor returned from his 
hunt and Texas, Kentuck, Manning, the druggist and 
Papa Barre were present, when the sheriff joined the 
group and, without even saying "Howdy," by way of salu- 
tation, he confronted the doctor with the remark: 


"Say, Doc, I know I'm dead easy; most any tin-horn 
gambler can do me up. I never squeal when I'm cheat- 
ed in a horse deal, but I'll be dadblamed if I'm going to 
be hornswoggled by a frontier sawbones without making 
a kick." 

"Goodness gracious, Jacobs, what in the world is the 
matter ?" 

"Matter! Well, that's cheeky, after sending in this 

"I don't understand you, Jacobs — what's wrong with 
that bill?" 

"Why, confound your cheek, look there" (pointing his 
finger at the objectionable item.) 

"Oh, that's all right, Jacobs." 

"All right! Say, Doc, you are a ringtail-tooter, and 
no mistake. You don't mean to stand up here and say 
that I got any of them obstetrics, do you? Why, man 
alive, I'll swear I didn't. And Josie says that she didn't, 
and I know darned well we couldn't have used a whole 
case of them." 

"Ha! Ha! Ha! — Excuse me for laughing, Jacobs, 
but that's the medical term for when that bouncing 
baby was born." 

"Well, you blamed fool, why didn't you say so in plain 
English instead of using that outlandish lingo?" 

The laugh and the drinks were on the sheriff. 



Various and strange were the things the cowpuncher did: 
Always reckless and thoughtless as a frolicsome kid. 

Along the pathway of the next ten years, the whirl- 
wind of time drove the dust of countless incidents that 
would have been interesting reading between the covers 
of "blood and thunder" novels. 

Nothing commonplace ever happened in the early days 
of Texas' Northwest. ^~ 

And, as Kentuck looks back, memory recalls a troop 
of queer characters, each bearing his own individuality 
that made him a distinct person among his fellows, pre- 
eminent for some specialty, that by common consent 
awarded him a name in harmony with his chief char- 

No truer saying was ever uttered than "familiarity 
with danger breeds contempt for it." And the ob- 
server might have added that there is a fascination in 
living where the six-shooter is the only arbitrator in 
disputes between man and man. 

Under these conditions life was only worth what each 
individual valued his own when called on to defend it. 

Even the most peacefully disposed persons, like Ken- 
tuck, of a necessity in those days carried his six-shooter. 
In fact, to be seen without your gun was to call attention 
to the absence of an essential part of your makeup. Like 


the excuse of the blind man for carrying a lighted lantern 
on a dark night, the six-shooter was a warning to the 
other fellow. Armed with a Colt's "45," a stripling 
was a match for a prize fighter, and dared to contend for 
his rights, notwithstanding the physical bully who op- 
posed him could pound the spark of life out of him. 

Ruffians, as a rule, are cowards, and will not take equal 
chances in a fair fight. But if they can "bullyrag" some 
effeminate man and take the "drop" on him, they parade 
as bad men. But even an effeminate man, armed with a 
six-shooter had been known to command the respect of 
these ruffians, who would otherwise have made him the 
butt of their cruel jokes. 

Yes, the six-shooter placed all men on an equal foot- 
ing, for skill superseded physical prowess, and a boy 
could shoot as straight and as hard as a man. It was 
also true that a man hunting for trouble, though armed 
to the teeth, could always find it. Consequently, it was 
the part of good judgment to move on when trouble was 

It sometimes takes a severe lesson in experience to 
make us realize the force of good advice from our best 

This proved true and was vividly impressed upon the 
mind of Kentuck on one occasion after having been ad- 
monished by Sheriff Jacobs to purchase a "45" Colt's re- 

Kentuck, though not a Quaker, nevertheless was a 
man of peace, and when he was halted by a bunch of 
cow punchers one morning as he rode over the trail from 
Albany to Griffin, he was unarmed and not prepared to 
resent the indignities heaped upon him. 

"Say, 'tenderfoot,' can you dance?" said a half-in- 
toxicated fellow as he dismounted from his pony. 


"If I were in a log cabin on a puncheon floor, with a 
partner from the mountain district of the old State, I 
might take a hand in the sport; why do you ask the 

"'Cause, you are going to dance a jig; roll off that 
bronc and strike a lively gait !" 

"But say, I can't dance a jig! I ." 

"Oh, yes, you can." And Kentuck's tormentor point- 
ed his six-shooter at his victim and fired a shot close 
to Kentuck's head to accelerate his movements. 

The other cow punchers in the bunch sat astride of 
their ponies and grinned. 

There being no way of escape, he was forced to keep 
time to the music of the cow puncher's six-shooter, which 
produced queer sensations and much perspiration. But 
when his tormentor had emptied his gun, the trying ordeal 
was finished, and Kentuck, almost finished from exhaus- 
tion, was permitted to remount his pony amid the roar 
of laughter that followed his departure. 

Kentuck did not mention this incident to his friends, 
but as soon as he arrived in Griffin purchased a Colt's 
45, a belt, scabbard and a box of cartridges, realizing 
that there was neither time to purchase nor borrow when 
a man needed a six-shooter. 

But thanks to cool reflection and better judgment, 
neither provocation nor occasion compelled Kentuck to 
defend himself, though there were times when his 
Colt's 45 produced a feeling of security. 

Preserving the Dignity of the Court. 

By slow degrees the courts began to show some sem- 
blance of authority, and the local officers, supported by 
the government and State troops, made some inroads on 
the dens of vice. 



The first district court held in Shackelford county oc- 
cupied the old picket barn on the square, and the grand 
jury sat in the open air under a liveoak tree. 

Judge Ousterhouse represented the dignity of the 
whole court, and notwithstanding his strenuous efforts 
to maintain it, at times he was forced to relax and par- 
take of the free and easy spirit of his surroundings. Es- 
pecially, when calling the docket, his sense of humor 
arose to the surface when the list of nom de plumes ap- 
peared, without a single legitimate name among them. 

Kentuck stood at the front door one morning and 
heard the judge call the names : "Hurricane Bill, Hur- 
ricane Minnie, Stovepipe Joe, Black Joe, Dutch John, 
Shorty Collins, Sheeny Mary, Indian Kate, Snaky Jim," 
and the judge paused for a moment and added, "and 
other vagabonds." 

One of the amusing incidents of the judge's attempt 
to enforce the law at this term of the court was when 
he imposed a fine upon Uncle Billy Wilson, an old forty- 
niner who had been summoned to appear as a witness in 
a case against Andy Brownlee for murder. 

When the case was called for trial the State filed a 
motion for a continuance, setting up the absence of an 
important witness, one Billy Wilson, whose evidence 
was material, upon which the prosecution relied for a 
conviction. The exhibit of the sheriff's return showed 
that Uncle Billy had been duly summoned, but had 
failed or refused to attend. 

The judge entered a fine of $50 against the absent wit- 
ness and ordered an attachment for his arrest, to be re- 
turned on the fourth day of the term. In the meantime 
one of Uncle Billy's friends informed him. With all 
the cunning resource of his Irish wit, Uncle Billy fixed 
up an ingenious plan to deceive the judge and save the 


$50. Dodging the deputy who came to Griffin to attach 
him, he secured a buckboard and a pair of Spanish mules 
and drove to Albany to make his excuse. When within 
a mile of the town he stopped, pulled off his right shoe 
and carefully swathed his right foot and leg to the knee 
in a thick bandage. And when he arrived with a cane 
previously prepared, he presented all the appearance of 
a serious injury that entitled him to the clemency of the 
court. Apparently so painful were his efforts to alight 
from the buckboard, Texas assisted him. 

Uncle Billy had timed his arrival in Albany when court 
had opened the next morning after he had been fined. 
Consequently, he had quite a sympathizing audience 
when he entered the door and painfully made his way to 
the judge's stand. With seeming great effort he man- 
aged to confront his Honor by steadying himself with 
the aid of a chair, and with a distressed look on his face 
addressed the court: 

"May it plaze yez, Mister Jidge, I'm sufferin' from 
a bad tumble down the back stairs of me shanty, a trying 
fur to help Biddy wid the week's washing — bad cess to 
the soapsuds, says I, for they sloshed all over the steps, 
Jidge, and Biddy, the tub and meself mixed up in a 
shindy that smashed me leg over the ash-hopper, and if 
ever I get over it, Jidge, sure and I'll be a cripple for life. 
And, Jidge, wid all this pain and misery, when I heard 
that yez fined me, I says, it's yez boundin' duty, Billy 
Wilson, to hitch up the bronchos and drive out to Al- 
bany and tell the Jidge the truth, and throw yezself on 
the mercy of the court. Far be it from the intention of 
Billy Wilson, Jidge, to shirk his lawful duty, and I hope 
yez Honor will remember Biddy and the childers and re- 
mit me fine." 

"Well, Mr. Wilson," replied the judge, "I think you 


have a sufficient if not a legal excuse, and I will set aside 
the fine, and as neither the State nor defendant is ready 
for trial, will continue this case until the next term/' 

"Thank yez, Jidge; may yez shadow niver grow less, 
and may Mistress Jidge and all the little Jidges live long 
and die happy." 

"That will do, Mr. Wilson," said the judge, "you are 
excused." And with many a groan Uncle Billy hobbled 
along to the door and disappeared. 

Joe Batts met him on his way to Griffin singing an 
Irish ditty and his leg in normal condition. 

It was a standing joke for many years that Uncle 
Billy's Irish wit won a legal victory by playing on the 
judge's credulity. 

Among the various charges submitted to the grand 
jury by the judge was that gambling was reported to be 
prevalent in the county and that it was the sworn duty 
of the members of so august a body to investigate, and, 
if sufficient evidence existed, to find bills of indictment 
against the offenders. 

By common consent the judge appointed one Frank 
Clampitt foreman of the jury. Among the conscientious 
members was Uncle Joe Matthews. 

After several days' deliberation without results, and 
no prospects of finding any indictments, the judge de- 
cided to discharge the jury the next day, and admonished 
them to finish up the business before them. 

During the entire day, prior to the time when they 
were to be discharged, the other members had noticed 
that Uncle Joe seemed to be very much troubled, as 
though not satisfied with the proceedings. 

And as the time approached to file into the presence 
of the judge he began to fidget and shook his head, 
as if overcome with the weight of responsibility, he arose 
and said: 


"Say, Frank, didn't the judge say that we was to in- 
vestigate into gambling in the county?" 

"Sure he did, Uncle Joe, but we just can't start any 
investigation at this time. It would be manifestly unjust 
to some members of this grand jury to spring an investi- 
gation without any warning." 

"But, Frank, under our oaths it seems to me that we 
are bound to follow the judge's instructions." 

"Under ordinary circumstances, you are right, but 
there are conditions mixed up with our duties that makes 
'self preservation the first law of nature/ and greater 
than the judge. And in this condition this jury is now 
placed, for it would not be fair to the foreman to start 
an investigation." 

"Well, Frank, if you feel that way about it, I guess 
you are plumb right." 

And the first grand jury adjourned without following 
the judge's instructions. 

Danger in the Dark 

The attendance on the spring term of the district court 
of Shackelford county in the year 1878 necessitated the 
erection of a tent annex to the Hotel de Barre, to accom- 
modate the guests. Papa Barre made a flying trip to 
Fort Griffin and negotiated with the commissary depart- 
ment for a wall tent twenty feet square. 

The hotel proper was a two-room picket house with 
dirt top. One room was used for kitchen and dining 
room combined, and the other was for the office and 
sleeping apartment. Consequently, the addition of a 
tent gave the hotel a swell appearance especially after 
prairie hay was scattered over the ground to make a 
mattress for the spread of blankets. A few canvas 
cots for the judge, lawyers and ranch owners lined the 
walls of the tent. 


When all was complete Papa and Mamma Barre sat 
down upon a bench and dipped snuff out of the same 
bottle and smiled. 

Among those who occupied the tent the first night were 
Texas, Kentuck and Col. John N. Simpson, owner of 
a ranch in Taylor county, where the city of Abilene now 

The presence of Colonel Simpson (president of a Dallas 
bank, and erstwhile candidate for Governor on the Re- 
publican ticket) will make the incident that happened 
that night in the canvas annex of more than ordinary in- 
terest to the readers. 

When all had retired and the primitive light, composed 
of a twisted rag in a bowl of tallow resting upon a pine 
box in the center of the tent, cast a sickly, smoky 
light over the sprawling guests, a snoring concert pro- 
claimed all were asleep. 

The one lone cock guarding a half-dozen hens in a 
near-by mesquite announced in clarion tones that the 
midnight hour had arrived, and save for the grunts and 
snores from within, all was quiet at the Hotel de Barre. 

Now and then the lull in the wind permitted the sounds 
of hilarity to float across the public square from Alex 
Lasley's saloon where some belated cow punchers were 

Papa and Mamma Barre had retired to the inner 
depths of the picket house with a clear conscience, to 
obtain much needed rest. 

No one was awake to sound a note of alarm when the 
staggering form of Mike Kegan pulled aside the flap of 
the tent and observed the situation from the magnifying 
influence of whisky in his fuddled brain. 

"That's (hie) a h — 11 of a layout — wonder if they died 
with their boots on? (hie.) Maybe ain't dead (hie); 



guess I'll shoot 'em up and see if they'll kick; (hie) just 
punch a hole in that darned fizzling thing in the washpan 
(hie) ; looks like a firebug (hie) ; shoot him on the wing 
'fore he gits away." 

And there was a flash and an explosion that created 
an exciting commotion, followed by an acrobatic per- 
formance excelling anything ever pulled off in a circus 

The guests in the Hotel de Barre annex arose as one 
man and made a dash for the open air without standing 
on the order of their going, some of them performing re- 
markable stunts. 

John N. Simpson, opposite to the "wild and woolly" 
Mike, sat up so suddenly that his cot turned over end- 
wise and he had rolled under the tent wall before he 
realized what happened. 

Texas and Kentuck collided as they attempted to 
arise, and rolled over each other in their efforts to es- 

There was an excited scramble among the cow punch- 
ers lying on the ground before they could sabe the situa- 

"Lasso that infernal fool !" shouted Papa Barre, as he 
rushed into the tent. 

"Noap, they ain't dead ones (hie) — call that a regular 
stampede," said Mike. 

"Gimme that gun, you sneaking coyote!" yelled Dick 
McAnulty, as he grabbed Mike by the collar and stuck 
a six-shooter under his nose. 

"Yer (hie) needn't talk so loud, pard, I ain't deaf 
(hie), but being's you're so particular 'bout it (hie), 
here's the old gun — the layout weren't dead nohow, were 
they, pard?" 

The disarmament of Mike restored order, the guests 

When the cowpunchers came to town. (Page 162.) 


returned to the annex, and normal conditions once more 

An Embarrassing Situation 

We are told that "variety is the spice of life," and after 
a few months' experience in the office of justice of the 
peace, Kentuck was prepared to acknowledge the truth of 
the adage, in so far as circumstances developed conflict- 
ing emotions between a sense of duty under the law and 
the necessity of conforming with local conditions. 

The enforcement of the law on the frontier always 
seemed to have an elastic application, and was sometimes 
stretched to the limit and at other times contracted to 
its minimum. 

But thanks to an accommodating Vigilance Commit- 
tee, very few felony cases came up for examination, for 
the good reason that the corpus delicti and the victim 
were buried in the same grave. 

Consequently, Kentuck was often tempted to resign 
and make an application to some ranchman for the posi- 
tion of cow puncher rather than depend upon the uncer- 
tain fees of his office. But his good-humored constitu- 
ency held out the tempting bait that the duties and the 
fees would increase in proportion to the increase in pop- 
ulation in the near future. 

In the meantime "Dan Cupid" got busy and produced 
conditions that called for the services of the J. P. to per- 
form the marriage ceremony. 

In this connection it may be interesting to relate the 
embarrassing situation that confronted Kentuck at Uncle 
George Greer's ranch in the fall of 1879. The occasion 
was the marriage of Tom Greer to Bettie Lafflet and 
Roe Lafflet to Annie Greer. 

The importance of this event in such a sparsely settled 


district can be better appreciated when one is informed 
that all the cowboys on the range had taken a day off to 
celebrate the wedding. About 200 men and a half-dozen 
women were at the ranch when Kentuck arrived. 

Having been notified a week in advance, the J. P. care- 
fully prepared and committed to memory an impressive 
ceremony, in view of the fact that it had been arranged 
to marry both couples at the same time. 

The small proportions of Uncle George's ranch house 
were not equal to the occasion, and it was decided to per- 
form the ceremony in the open air. In the meantime 
Grandma Greer and the visiting ladies were busy assist- 
ing the brides to dress. But as Bobby Burns said, "the 
best laid plans o' mice and men gang aft aglee," and so 
it proved on this occasion. 

One of the most ludicrous incidents imaginable hap- 
pened while the preparations for the ceremony were in 

As the hour drew nigh Grandma Greer grew nervous 
and unwittingly was the innocent cause of a domestic ex- 
plosion that came near upsetting all previous arrange- 
ments, and did scatter decorum on the wings of hilarious 

Uncle George was one of the kindest and most gen- 
erous of men upon God's green footstool, and on this 
occasion was very busy looking after the comfort of his 
guests. He was here, there and everywhere, bidding the 
boys welcome, supplying stake ropes, furnishing tobacco 
and matches, and doing everything in the line of hos- 
pitality in harmony with his long established reputation. 

When there seemed to be nothing more that he could 
do on the outside he entered the house where the ladies 
were busy, and where Kentuck sat in one corner silently 
going through a mental rehearsal of the previously pre- 
pared marriage ceremony. 


As so often happens in well regulated families, the 
pride of Grandma Greer was too strong for the objec- 
tions of Uncle George, and he was hustled off into the 
shed room to put on a clean outfit of clothes, including 
under garments and a white shirt. In her haste the good 
wife grabbed out of a drawer what she supposed to be 
the necessary garments, but what proved to be a domestic 

Perhaps five minutes elapsed when those inside and 
outside were electrified by an eruption from the crater 
of Uncle George's profanity. The cuss words became 
loud and vigorous, shutting off the buzz of conversation 
and causing a general rush to the little shed room where 
Uncle George was engaged in executing a war dance. 

What the boys saw can better be imagined than de- 
scribed. In the middle of the room was the irate old 
gentleman in an abbreviated nether garment, holding at 
arm's length a pair of lady's unmentionables and gazing 
at them with supreme disgust, trying to explain between 
cuss words, to Grandma Greer, who hurried in, that it 
was impossible for him to wear them and retain his self 

Nothing but the free and easy good fellowship char- 
acteristic of the frontier saved the situation. Everybody 
laughed until their sides ached. But, during the hubbub, 
Kentuck's prepared ceremony escaped his memory and 
he was left to stagger through the service. 

Of all the unique characters that ever lived on the 
frontier of Texas, George W. Greer was without an 
equal. Small, wiry, without a pound of surplus flesh, he 
was gifted with a superabundance of energy that he 
worked off to a good advantage on his cattle ranch. 

And right here is an excellent opportunity to gain an 
insight into the peculiar humor of the old gentleman. It 


has been reported that on one occasion the commander 
at Fort Griffin sent a small escort of cavalry with the 
paymaster on his way to Fort Clark. 

Lieutenant Fred, now Gen. Frederick D. Grant, was 
detailed to command the soldiers. The first day's march 
they camped over night at the crossing of Hubbard creek 
near Uncle George's ranch house. Being used to ex- 
tending hospitality on a large scale, he invited the whole 
outfit, consisting of ten soldiers and the two officers, to 
partake of the evening meal. And though the officers 
mildly protested that the soldiers were prepared to cook, 
they accepted, and all marched up to the house for their 
supper. With the assistance of several cowboys, 
Mother Greer soon prepared an appetizing meal of warm 
corn bread, coffee and a dish of fried potatoes and fresh 

When all was ready Uncle George invited them to the 
table, when the following amusing colloquy occurred: 

"Walk in, gents, and be seated." 

"But, Mr. Greer," protested Lieutenant Grant, "the 
soldiers can wait until your family and the officers are 

"Well, I'll be hornswoggled if they do." 

"But, Mr. Greer, the regulations of the army " 

"The regulations of your old Yankee army be damned ! 
See here, Mr. Lieutenant, if anybody waits for a second 
table, you dude officers can take a back seat and watch 
the balance eat." 

The Lieutenant blushed and looked embarrassed, but 
the Major, who was an old campaigner, smiled and said, 
"Come on, boys, we will go in and clean up the grub 
while the Lieutenant waits." 

Grant saw the humor in the situation and joined in the 
laugh that followed. 



The Branding Pens. 

To relieve the monotonous existence that fell to the lot 
of the county officials who were called on to perform the 
legal duties in the newly organized county of Shackle- 
ford, Texas and Kentuck were willing to accept any 
diversion that promised to fill in the time that was other- 
wise very dull. 

Consequently, the marking and branding of cattle or 
a roundup within reasonable distance commanded their 

And it frequently happened that the desire to lend a 
hand was so strong in Texas' makeup that he often 
mounted a trained bronco and helped to rope the animals. 

After the grass matured sufficiently in the summer to 
justify moving cattle, Jess Ellison's outfit drove a large 
herd through Albany to the home ranch on North Prong. 
Texas and Kentuck mounted their ponies and followed 
them to the branding pen, to see the year's crop of calves 
marked and branded. 

When they arrived Ellison had already prepared for 
the day's work and placed the cattle under close herd 
near the corrals, where a certain number could be cut out 
and driven in without crowding. 

The fire was already making a good bed of coals be- 
tween the logs where the "J- E." irons were being heated 
ready to decorate the hips of the unfortunate calves. 

Lanky Jones and Sam Hatcher rode into the herd 
and cut out about thirty head; steers, cows and calves 
were rushed through the gate into the corral. Then 
they gradually separated the calves and turned the steers 
and cows outside. The majority of these calves were 
from three to five months old, and as wild as deer. 

When Caesar Boynton announced the irons ready, 
at the proper heat to do effective work, Lanky and Sam 


started the calves on the run around the pen to keep 
them from dodging. Then each swung his lasso above 
his head, forming an open loop by the turn of their wrist, 
and with unerring skill threw them, one over the head 
and the other over the hind legs of an animal, with a 
sharp upward jerk to prevent the ropes slipping off. The 
well-trained ponies turned their heads toward the brand- 
ing fire as each rider took a turn of his lasso around the 
pommel of his saddle. This movement brought the calf 
to the ground. 

The riders then dismounted and held the calf until 
two more cow punchers ran up and took possession ; one 
sitting on the neck, held down the head, and the other 
squatting behind the back, held the tail between the hind 
legs of the calf. 

"Hot iron !" yelled one. "Marker !" yelled the other. 

Jess Ellison handled the iron and pressed it carefully 
upon the hip, producing a smell of scorching hair. In 
the meantime Boyanton had cut a swallow fork out of 
one and an underbit out of the other ear. The animal 
was then allowed- to get up and scamper off to the other 
end of the pen, and another victim was thrown down. 

The work of marking and branding calves and maver- 
icks was kept up all morning until the entire herd had 
been culled. Then everything was turned loose on the 
open range, amide the lowing of the cows as they hunted 
up their offspring. 

After dinner with the boys at the ranch, Texas and 
Kentuck rode back to town. 

Attacks on the Overland Stagecoach. 

The holdups of the overland stage in the early days 
in Texas differed largely from the holdups in the North- 
west Territories in that instead of the bold, daring rob- 


bers, the attacks were generally made by the Indians, 
who took a malicious delight in circling around on their 
ponies and discharging a volley of arrows and bullets 
at the drivers as they lashed their horses into a dashing 
run for safety. 

During these attacks it sometimes happened that the 
horses were killed and the drivers killed or wounded in 
the battle, while many an Indian bit the dust. In the 
emergency the uninjured passengers were compelled to 
call on some nearby ranchman for assistance to the next 
stage stand. 

Consequently, the driver was always a brave man, cool 
and deliberate in the hour of danger, with nerves of steel 
and hands skilled to guide the Spanish mules over the 
rugged trail and through the mountain pass, where the 
Indians often laid in ambush. 

The adventures of the old-time stage drivers would 
make a volume of exciting incidents worthy of a place 
in the archives of the past instead of mention in so brief 
a space as the writer can devote to it. 

But as a most potent factor in the development of the 
country west of the Brazos river, the stagecoach was a 
concomitant in the stirring events of the times, and 
there is no excuse for passing them up to the shelf of 
oblivion without acknowledging their place in frontier 
history, especially when we consider the stage line as 
the most important link in the communication of the civ- 
ilized East with the "Wild West." 

When Kentuck arrived in Fort Griffin in 1876 the 
overland stage ran from Dallas and Denison, the terminal 
of the railroads, to the Gate City of El Paso, on the bor- 
der line of Old Mexico, with a system of branch lines 
running to Forts Richardson, Belknap, Griffin and Clark. 

Among the skilled drivers that dashed into Fort Griffin 


behind his six-in-hand, the writer remembers Dick 
Wheeler, now grown old and gray and living in the city 
of Wichita Falls, Texas. 

With a multiplicity of reins that a "tenderfoot" would 
tangle into a bewildering confusion, he sat upon 
the driver's seat with the ease and confidence of expe- 
rience, and assured his passengers of a safe deliverance 
at their destination, barring accidents and Indians. 

Unless the trail was rough and tortuous, he held the 
reins in his left hand, and with a long-lash whip in his 
right, cracked merry encouragement to the wild mules 
that galloped ten miles without a halt. 

No previous training had been given the wild, unfed 
mules. Roped, thrown and blindfolded, they were 
harnessed while kicking and braying their protest, and 
were pushed into line and hitched, while an attendant 
held each by one ear and the nose to prevent a dash 
for liberty. 

When all was ready and the passengers inside, the 
driver would yell: "Let her go, boys." 

Each man turned loose his mule and jumped back out 
of the way and, for the first half-hour the driver had his 
hands full keeping them in the trail. It was said, with 
a great deal of truth, that it was impossible to stop them 
between stations, and if a passenger desired to leave the 
stage en route, he was compelled to swing from the 

And any one on the wayside, desiring to take passage, 
was compelled to board the stage while in motion. 

Dick Wheeler drove over the entire route from Fort' 
Worth to El Paso during the year 1877, pushing on 
ahead of the construction of the Texas & Pacific as the 
iron rails were being laid westward. 

At that time the Comanches were troublesome in the 


"plains" country, and Wheeler was mixed up in several 
exciting adventures. 

One, especially, is worth mentioning. It was a west- 
bound trip, and the overland was bowling along the trail 
near the stage stand that developed into the town of 
Toyah. The stage could be seen for miles as it rolled 
along over the prairie. 

The evening shadows were lengthening, and driver 
and passengers were looking forward to a night's rest 
before resuming their journey on the morrow. The un- 
dulating surface of the trail as the stage swayed through 
the buffalo wallows, occupied their attention, and no one 
noticed a band of painted warriors until they came 
charging down with a blood-curdling warwhoop. Wheel- 
er and the passengers responded to the Indian charge 
with a volley from their rifles, and the battle was on. 

Two of the mules were shot down, the others became 
helplessly entangled in the harness, and the stage was 
overturned. Wheeler cut the harness and freed the 
mules, and they galloped away toward the stage stand. 
In the meantime, Wheeler and the passengers used the 
overturned stage for a breastwork, and all except a Jew 
named Bernstine engaged the Indians, who circled at 
full speed, swinging on the opposite side of their ponies 
and shooting from beneath the animal's neck. Two or 
three of the Comanches were armed with pistols and, 
though poor marksmen, made it interesting for the de- 

While the others were busy pumping lead, a bullet 
from a Comanche gun shattered a spoke near Bernstine's 
head, the ragged splinters sticking into the skin and 
making the blood flow and he made a frantic appeal. 

"Yust you look here oncst, don't it, where der blood 
flows from der wound in me head. Henry Bernstine is 


sure dead. Der old fadder and der mudder will mourn 
for him, but he no return some more to his happy child- 
hood home, don't it ? Vay out here where no wimmins 
and childrens live, you will bury me when the fight is 
done, but you don't let 'em take me hair off, vill you?" 

"Oh, cut out that chin music, Sheeny; you are not 
hurt. Jump up and be a man," said Wheeler. 

"And I ain't hurt some, hey? By the great prophet 
Elijah, I was so glad dot Henry Bernstine is not dead." 

A hearty laugh followed this sally, and the fight con- 

But the white men being better protected and good 
marksmen, the Comanches, after having a horse killed 
and one of their number wounded, abandoned the fight 
and rode away to the north. 

The escaped mules arrived at the stage stand and the 
agent and hostlers knew something was wrong, and lost 
no time going to the rescue. The stage was righted and 
fresh mules hitched in, and the whole outfit rolled into 
the little settlement. 

The "Happy Family" Delusion. 

That the prairie dog, owl and rattlesnake live in the 
same town is a well established fact. But that they are 
a "happy family," going in and out the same dog hole, 
is a fallacy born of the imagination of some romancer 
who has imposed on the credulity of the public, who never 
traveled where the prairie dog towns of Northwest Texas 
cover hundreds of acres of otherwise fertile lands. 

Of course, when necessity leaves no choice of escape, 
the dog, owl and the snake will make a dash for the most 
convenient hole. And it sometimes happens that the rat- 
tlesnake is coiled in the mouth of the hole when the dog 
makes a dash for the same hole. Then there is a dis- 


tressing scene that cannot but appeal to the sympathies 
of one watching the little rodent when it finds itself where 
the chances are about equal between the pursuing terror 
and the fangs in front. 

Perhaps the dog will take all kinds of chances to es- 
cape to another hole rather than dash for liberty through 
the coils of his snakeship. 

In every dog town there are abandoned holes, deserted 
by the one-time occupants for some good reasons; gen- 
erally because one of the number had been killed and 
fallen down the passageway, where it was left to decay. 
Into these abandoned holes the snakes find their way and 
take up their abode where owls already live. This is the 
true explanation of the "happy family," theory. In fact, 
the dog, snake and owl are deadly enemies when they 
meet in the passageway of a dog hole. Nevertheless, a 
student of nature can find much that is interesting in the 
habits and intelligence of a colony of prairie dogs. 

In a large colony, covering fifty or one hundred acres, 
the underground city is connected with tunnels re- 
sembling streets and alleys, used in common by the whole 
colony. Removed from the common passages are the 
homes of each family of dogs, where they raise their 
young and store their food. These homes are generally 
elevated six inches above the common passage, and en- 
tered from a small tunnel leading from the passage to 
the home. In every colony there is a drainage canal 
and public wells. Any one who has ever tried to drown 
out the dogs by pouring water into the holes has found 
that unless he uses an isolated hole he can pour barrels 
of water into one without any perceivable effect. 

It is unfortunate that these little animals were called 
dogs when in fact they are of the ground squirrel species, 
for otherwise the early settlers and travelers might have 


used them for food when larger game was scarce. Preju- 
dice, by reason of their name, protected them from the 
hunter's rifle until the man with the hoe came along and 
used poison to clear the land of the pests. 

One of the most terrorizing things that can happen 
to the denizens of a prairie dog town is the onrush of a 
stampeding herd of cattle or buffalo. As their sharp 
hoofs tear up the loose earth and send it rattling down 
the mouth of the holes, while the dogs, owls and snakes 
are making frantic efforts to dive down out of the way 
of the moving avalanche, consternation reigns. For the 
time being each forgets to make war on his neighbor 
while trying to escape from the common enemy. 

But the greed for gain wiped the buffalo off the face 
of the prairie and drove the Indian beyond the border of 
the State, and the prairie dog remained to contest with 
the white man the possession of the land. 

The system of fencing in large pastures has proven a 
protection to the antelope, jackrabbits and prairie dogs, 
and in many places they have multiplied in large num- 
bers. But the man with the hoe is marching westward 
and relentlessly making war on all wild animals. 

A few more years and Texas, like the older States of 
the Union, will be cut up into farms and small pastures, 
and there will be no hiding place for wild animals. The 
sportsmen can travel many miles without amusement or 
profit to-day, where game in abundance roamed a few 
years ago. 

In the days long gone Texas and Kentuck awakened 
in the mornings and looking out over the prairie could 
see buffalo, deer, antelope and wolves, and hear the wild 
turkeys leaving their roosts in the trees along the North 
Prong, rarely sitting down to a meal without enjoying 
turkey, but nothing remains but the memory. 


Beef on the Range 

When "Dutch Nance," George and Jim Loving were 
the agents for St. Louis, Kansas City and Chicago stock 
yards, beef steers were sold and delivered on the range 
to the stock yard agents instead of being shipped by the 
ranchmen themselves. 

As soon as the season opened these agents rode from 
ranch to ranch and bargained for a certain number to 
be rounded up and delivered on a certain date to the 
agents, who drove them to the nearest railway point, 
Dallas, Denison or Fort Worth, 150 or 200 miles distant. 

To simplify matters the agents employed the requisite 
number of cow punchers to gather and hold until a herd 
of about 2,000 was made up, then to be driven over the 
trail to the railroad. 

"Dutch Nance's" home was near the town of Denton, 
but by reason of his occupation as a buyer of cattle on 
the Griffin range, he became a familiar visitor in the 
cow camps and the resorts around town where the cat- 
tlemen were wont to spend their leisure time. 

Robust and full of life, he became a boon companion 
of the festive cow punchers, entering into all their sports 
and sympathizing in all of their misfortunes. It was not 
an uncommon event for him to make Albany his head- 
quarters for two months during the fall season when 
he was directing the gathering of his purchase of beef 
steers in the surrounding ranches. 

During these periods Nance entered into the social 
whirl, and was the gayest of the gay gallants that made 
their heels clatter and spurs rattle to the music of Black 
Andy's fiddle. 

And these affairs were a source of genuine enjoyment 
in those days of good fellowship, when neither riches, 


class nor dress divided the people. All the boys chipped 
in their dollar to make the affair a success. 

And it was Irish generosity that was prevalent to the 
extent that one's purse was at the pleasure of his friends, 
whose I. O. U. was all the security necessary. Open 
doors and unrestrained hospitality greeted all. 

Ranches were few and far between in those days and 
all kept open house, consequently, when Col. Csesar 
Boynton, wife, two sons and two daughters, old friends 
of Sheriff Will Cruger, arrived from Albany, Ga., their 
advent was hailed with delight by reason of the fact that 
they located a ranch four miles east of the town. 

And notwithstanding Colonel Boynton was an aristo- 
crat, belonging to the old school of Southern gentlemen, 
whose pride and pretensions ought to have been buried 
in the grave of the Civil War, his sons and daughters 
were soon able to assimilate family pride with Western 
hospitality to the extent of making the Boynton home 
a popular resort for the cowboys. Mollie, Zuda, Csesar 
Jr. and George devised ways and means for the enjoy- 
ment of their new friends. 

"Dutch Nance," Texas and Kentuck were frequent 
visitors, and generally leaders in the square dances when 
there were sufficient numbers to make a set. 

Texas, whose love affairs were not running smooth- 
ly, secured the cooperation of Mollie Boynton in devising 
a way to meet the girl he loved. It was often arranged 
that a number of young people were invited to the Boyn- 
ton home to spend the evening, and Texas and Mollie 
Lyle given a rare opportunity to enjoy each other's com- 

One evening when the usual number of merry-makers 
were assembled, a dapper little man dressed in "store 
clothes," with the stamp of city impressed over his whole 


person, appeared from the shadowy light beyond the 
doorway and stood in the entrance, as if uncertain 
whether to retreat or advance. 

The costume worn by the stranger, more than his be- 
wildered attitude, produced an embarrassing silence that 
might have become painful if Mrs. Boynton, coming 
from a rear room had not recognized him and exclaimed : 

"Well, I declare if that is not Cheever Pace?" 

"Certainly, I'm Cheever Pace, from your old town in 
Georgia, and a deuce of a time I have had jolting along 
in a stagecoach from Fort Worth. Met Bill Cruger in 
Fort Griffin, and he asked a bunch of cowboys going to 
Ellison's ranch to loan me a pony and allow me to ride 
with them along the trail until we came to your house. 
They said something to Bill about being disgraced if 
they were seen with a 'spider-legged' dude, but he ex- 
plained that I was his friend, and was only a green 
'tenderfoot,' and didn't know any better than to dike up 
like a 'scissor-tail.' 'And, boys, you will do me a favor 
to deliver him to Mrs. Boynton without damaging the 
package/ One of them named Jackson said, 'Being as 
you put it that way, Cruger, we are inclined to grant the 
favor, but we will shy around Albany, for fear that 
some cow puncher, full of 'loco- juice,' might drop a 
lariat over him.' Now, what did he mean, Mrs. Boyn- 

Everyone in the room enjoyed a hearty laugh, much 
to the amazement of Pace. 

Mrs. Boynton kindly advised Pace when he awoke in 
the morning to accept the loan of a Texas suit from her 
son George until he could purchase clothes more in har- 
mony with his surroundings. 

"Dog take it, what is the matter with these clothes?" 
said Pace. 


"All right where you came from, but all wrong out 
here on the range," said Texas. 

"But I don't understand," said Pace. 

"Oh, you will learn later. I made the same mistake; 
I don't have to be told now," said Kentuck. 

"But what is a 'tenderfoot'?" inquired Pace. 

"A fellow without experience, who tries to walk over 
a rough trail barefooted," explained "Dutch Nance." 

"Fortunately, Mr. Pace, you are without any rough 
experience, thanks to Sheriff Cruger. And there is no 
reason why you may not join us and have a pleasant 

"You forget, daughter," said Mrs. Boynton, "that per- 
haps Mr. Pace will enjoy a lunch first." 

"Oh, beg your pardon, I did forget." And Mollie 
Boynton excused herself to prepare the lunch. 

After satisfying his appetite, Pace joined the others, 
and an impromptu dance was enjoyed for an hour. 

The hands of the clock were nearing the midnight 

hour when the guests of the evening departed, "Dutch 

/ Nance," Texas and Kentuck, escorting Mollie Dobbs 

and the two Misses Holcomb to Albany, Mollie Lyle and 

Cheever Pace remaining over night with the Boyntons. 

But the advent of the railroads brought about a change 
in the manner of handling cattle, and ranchmen began 
to ship their own beeves to market. 

Another change came also in the nature of an influx 
of Eastern capital for investment in Texas cattle and 
^ranches. It was a favorite avenue for retired manu- 
facturers and merchants of Boston, New York and Phil- 
adelphia to invest money for their sons, who were often 
sent out to take charge of the property. 

And one of the biggest mistakes of these scions of rich 
men was that they had acquired a theoretical knowledge 


of cattle raising in one of the departments of an Eastern 
college, which instead of an advantage in the practical 
workings of a Western ranch, proved their undoing. For 
their theory had no conception of an open range in a 
sparsely settled country, where nature grew the prov- 
ender and cattle <rustled for themselves. Consequently, 
investments of this kind proved disastrous to the in- 
vestors, at the same time producing abnormal apprecia- 
tion in the price of stock cattle. 

Strange to say, many old-time ranchmen who could 
not withstand the temptation of speculation in the fic- 
titious prices, also went broke, instead of waiting until 
the market became normal again. 

During these days many ludicrous situations occurred, 
growing out of the strained relations between the prac- 
tical Westerner and the theoretical Easterner, often lead- 
ing to an open rupture when some old-time cow puncher 
rebelled against a nonsensical innovation. 

This was forcibly illustrated one morning on the Grif- 
fin range during the delivery of a bunch of cattle to one 
Dunkan, nephew of the Eastern purchaser. 

Dunkan was fresh from college and, in his own estima- 
tion, what he did not know about the cattle business was 
beyond the knowledge of Texas cow punchers. 

One can imagine the self-importance of this graduate 
who had listened to the wise professors lecture on the 
anatomy of a cow — an Eastern cow — raised in a barn and 
fed on prepared food. But Dunkan's first morning's ex- 
perience with "Mrs. Longhorn," knocked all the halo 
from around his theory. 

The whole outfit was busy preparing to round up the 
local range on the morrow, and had neither time nor 
disposition to listen to Dunkan's theories. No one paid 
any attention to the young man from the East. But he 


refused to be ignored and got busy asking questions, 
and was invariably referred to the "range boss," a red- 
headed Irishman named O'Connor, who had an utter 
contempt for what he called a spider-legged dude. 

Dunkan chased around from place to place and finally 
located O'Connor near the cook's shanty, cinching up 
his bronco. 

Without any preliminaries, Dunkan blurted out : "Say, 
me good fellow, how far is it to where the gentle bovines 
are grazing, that you intend to drive up and decorate 
with the insignia of me dear uncle?" 

O'Connor looked up from his shaggy brows, and eye- 
ing the young man with contempt, said: "Oh, to blazes 
wid yez foin talk, ye blubbering idiot. If I had time 
I'd chuck ye down a prairie dog hole, where yez could 
speel yez story to the snake and awl, instead of snoop- 
ing around here wid yez baby talk." 

"But, me good fellow, you do not seem to understand. 
I take great pleasure in this ideal life of the cowboy." 

"Oh, cut out yez chin music and lave off bothering 
me. I don't know what yez mean by all that palaver, but 
I'm willing to do what's right about it." 

"Then if you will kindly order a horse, I'll take great 
pleasure in accompanying you, so that I can take ob- 
servations and make suggestions that may prove helpful 
in simplifying your work." 

"Say, Tucker," shouted O'Connor to a cowboy near 
by; "saddle up that old flea-bitten gray and turn him 
over to this dude." 

Following instructions, Tucker saddled up one of the 
old outlawed cayuses that had been turned loose for a 
year. This old skate always took the bit between his 
teeth and ran away when mounted by any one not fa- 
miliar with his tricks. 


So it happened that when the dude from the East was 
astride of him, one of the cowboys came galloping up, 
yelling, "Yip! yip J yahee!" Away went that old flea- 
bitten bronc like he was shot out of a gun, carrying 
Dunkan far afield over the prairie, on and on for several 
miles, and it was near the noon hour before the dude re- 
turned, sore, dejected and humble. He had learned a 
lesson in the school of experience, and was a "sadder, 
but wiser man." 

But time and experience are wonderful educators, and 
it did not take Dunkan long to become a full-fledged cow 
puncher. All the Yankee drawl and affectation of "away 
down East" was knocked out of him, and he became able 
to hold his own with the boys on the range. 

From a dude college student to an expert "bronco 
buster" was a big drop in ethics, but Dunkan landed upon 
both feet and made one of the best hands on the ranch. 

After eighteen months of rough, hard labor, driving, 
marking and branding cattle, until his hands and face 
were the color of tanned leather, he concluded to visit the 
"old folks at home." 

When he arrived in Boston there was a family reunion, 
and the place of honor was given him at the banquet that 
followed. Among the invited guests on that occasion 
was a number of college chums and lady friends. 

Dunkan appeared in evening suit and was the "lion 
of the hour." 

Time and again he was importuned to tell the amusing 
incidents of his rough experience on the Texas cattle 
range. So preoccupied did he become in the recital that 
he for the moment forgot his surroundings, and uncon- 
sciously lapsed into the free and easy habit of eating in 
a cow camp. 

One of the courses served at the table was a liberal 


portion of chicken pie, a dish that Dunkan was particu- 
larly fond of, and while he was busy eating and talking 
he committed an unpardonable breach of table manners 
by throwing the chicken bones over his shoulder upon 
the floor. 

The shout of hilarious laughter that followed this 
breach of etiquette cause the erstwhile "bronco buster" to 
blush until the red blood showed through the tan. . 

Dunkan was one among many college students who 
made good cow punchers on the "free range" of Texas. 

Consequently it is passing strange that Eastern writ- 
ers who were interested west of the Mississippi river per- 
sistently class the cowboys as ignorant, coarse and un- 
couth. Wild and reckless, I grant you, but ignorant and 
uncouth, never! 

Unfortunately, there were a few vicious and unprin- 
cipled rascals who belonged to some of the outfits, and 
disgraced the calling. 

But this was the exception to the rule. 


The march of progress brought many changes in 
ranch life in the early '8os. 

The Texas & Pacific railway pushed its way west 
through the open range, and the immigrants arrived by 
Car loads, built towns and fenced in sections of land 
along the route of the iron highway for agricultural pur- 

This necessitated a change in the plans of the old-time 
cattle kings. They read the "handwriting on the wall" 
of destiny, and began to file on and lease large tracts of 
land for pastures ; fenced them in with strands of wire, 
converting the old range into pastures for breeding and 
raising improved grades of cattle. 


During this transition stage there were many conflicts 
of interests, sometimes bordering on hostilities, between 
the open range and pasture men. In some sections this 
developed into fence-cutting and other lawless acts. But 
as the months passed things began to adjust themselves 
to the new conditions, and many ranchmen, who drove 
their herds farther west, began to improve their home 

With other improvements came the telephone, at first 
used in its experimental stage in the small towns, later 
enlarging to include the local ranches. Often miles of 
wire fencing were used to make a connection between the 
ranch and the home town. 

In this connection it is w r orth while to relate an amus- 
ing incident that happened on a ranch not many miles 
from Fort Griffin. 

In order to avoid being personal, the writer will 
say that during the absence of Kidd Boggs from the 
home ranch, with a bunch of steers on the Western range, 
the ranchman made connection with Griffin by hitching 
the electric current to his wire fence. 

Texas and Kentuck were present when Kidd Boggs 
returned from the range for a week's rest at the home 
ranch, and witnessed the amusing incident of Kidd's 
first introduction to the telephone. 

While Kidd was cleaning the alkali dust from his an- 
atomy and getting a bite to eat, the other boys put up a 
job on him by communicating with a friend in town and 
requesting that he accuse the Kidd of stealing a yearling 
when he talked over the phone. 

After the cleaning up process and eating his lunch, 
Kidd sauntered into the office known as the "boss' work- 
shop." The other boys were lounging around waiting 
until he discovered the phone. 


Throwing his hat into the corner of the room, shaking 
hands and saying howdy, all 'round, he dropped into a 
chair and, like the cat that came back, began to take ob- 
servations. And spying the phone box, he exclaimed: 
"What the blazes is that, now?" 

"Oh, that box on the wall? that's a talking machine," 
responded one of the boys. 

"What you giving me? — think I'm a greaser?" 

"Sure thing, Kidd," remarked another boy. 

"Oh, go way back and set down ; I ain't green." 

"Go over there, Kidd," said Texas, "and turn the crank 
on the side ; take down the horn with a string to it, hang- 
ing on the peg, and put it over your ear, and say hello 
into that thing in front." 

Kidd got up, eyed the boys suspiciously and walked 
gingerly over to the phone, carefully looked it over and 
finally following instructions, yelled "Hello!" 

"Is that you, Kidd Boggs?" came back over the wire. 

"Sure thing," answered the Kidd. 

"Well, I'm onto you hard and fast, Kidd. You stole 
that red yearling from Bar X ranch." 

"What — what's that you say? Darn your measly 
hide!" And before any one could interfere, the Kidd 
stepped back, pulled his gun and began to pump lead 
into the phone box. 

The boss and the other boys joined in a roar of laugh- 
ter, and Kidd sheepishly returned his gun to its scabbard. 
'Twas a "horse on him." 

Riding Into a Saloon for the Drinks 

The spice and variety of frontier life was that the 
unexpected was always happening ; something altogether 
out of the ordinary dull routine ; startling surprises that 
almost took your breath, leaving one to wonder what 


would be the next move on the complex checkerboard 
where men played for big stakes. 

One of the most surprising stunts that a bunch of 
cow punchers could pull off without batting an eye was 
to ride with unconcern into a saloon and line up on horse- 
back in front of the bar and order the drinks. 

Texas and Kentuck were standing in front of E. 
Frankle's store on Griffin avenue one evening in the sum- 
mer of '79, when a rollicking bunch of Millet's cow 
punchers, led by Peeler, rode up in front of the Old 
Adobe saloon. Their loud talk and belligerant attitude 
gave evidence of too much whisky. 

"Come on, boys," said Bill Jones, a reckless specimen 
of bravado. "I'm as dry as a herring and haven't time 
to hitch," and he spurred his bronco into the open door 
of the saloon, followed by a half-dozen as wild and reck- 
less cusses as ever sat astride of a pony. 

The obedient little animals were reined up in front of 
the bar, and the drinks ordered all around. 

Though the barkeep, Mike Casey, was not in the best 
of humor over the lawless act, he shrugged his shoulders 
and served the drinks, managing to keep a civil tongue 
while the outfit cussed and roared with delight over their 

They were ready either for a fight or a frolic, and 
would have tossed up a penny for choice. 

Finding no one willing to challenge their unceremon- 
ious entrance and dare-devil conduct, they rode out 
swinging their sombreros over their heads, stood up in 
their stirrups, and let out a series of yells as they spurred 
their ponies into a gallop and ran out of the Flat, firing 
right and left. 

"Those onerary cusses need a few loads of buckshot 
at close range," remarked Texas. 


"Yes," replied Kentuck, "Cap and Lon Millet can 
scrape up as scurvy a lot of scalawags as can be found 
on the range." 

Practical Jokes 

The members of a "down East" shoe manufacturing 
firm, who had successfully invaded the other portions of 
the State, could not understand the conditions that pre- 
vailed in Northwest Texas, where they were unable to 
dispose of any of their wares. Consequently, in the early 
spring of 1877 they ordered one of their salesmen to 
visit the range country, study the situation and report 
to headquarters in Boston, the object of the firm being 
to manufacture a special article to meet the demand for 

A jolly, loquacious gentleman named Billy Watson 
was selected by reason of his "free and easy" disposition 
and his propensity for mixing with all kinds of people 

But notwithstanding Billy knew his business, and any- 
where within the civilized limits would have held a win- 
ning hand, he did not know straight up about the country 
west of the Brazos river. 

So when he climbed into the stagecoach at Fort 
Worth with his sample case and letters of introduction 
to the leading firms in Weatherford, Graham, Comanche 
and Fort Griffin, he was like a sailor adrift on an unknown 

In addition to being a helpless "tenderfoot," he made the 
mistake of being dressed in a flashy suit of store clothes 
and a derby hat — a sure challenge to any self-respecting 
cowboy to resent an invasion of the established costume 
of the frontier. 

"Brazos Bill," the stage driver, took Watson's measure, 


and decided to let the "tenderfoot" profit by experience, 
instead of warning him or arguing the question of pro- 
priety. There were three other passengers in the coach 
— Aunt Polly Sikes, Jim Loving and Dave Gardner — all 
bound for Weatherford. The men wore the regulation ^ 
broad-brim hat, blue flannel shirt and overalls, with the 
legs thrust into a pair of high-heeled boots ; six-shooters, 
camp knife and jingling spurs. 

At first the situation was a little strained, and Watson 
and his fellow passengers eyed each other suspiciously 
until the old lady broke the silence by exclaiming: "Law 
sakes, ain't this Mary's creek, where the road agent held 
up the stage the last trip?" 

"Yep," said Jim Loving, "you are plumb right, sis ; they 
sure did!" 

"Say, Jim Loving, what yer calling me sis for, and me 
old enough for your grandma?" 

"Excuse me, Aunt Polly," grinned Jim, "I clean for- 

"Well, you had better remember your manners next 
time, young man." 

"Holdup — what's a holdup ?" said Watson. 

"Oh, it's only a little fun a fellow named Lone Jack 
had with the driver and passengers when he stepped out 
in front of the horses with a black rag over his face and 
a Winchester in his hand," said Loving. 

"What did the passengers and the driver do?" 

"Contributed their surplus wealth to pacify him." 

"Anybody hurt?" 

"Nope; he politely allowed them to depart after re- 
moving the mail sack." 

"Say, do you know this is a little interesting to a man 
like me, making his first trip West?" remarked Watson. 

"'Spect so," said Loving. 


After a few minutes' silence Watson, not entirely sat- 
isfied, asked: "Does this happen often?" 

"Nope," remarked Dave Gardner; "it is generally the 
Indians that come cavorting around the stage and make 
everybody hustle to keep out of the way of a flock of 

"Goodness, gracious, man! You talk as if it was a 
commonplace occurrence instead of an event where peo- 
ple are liable to lose their lives." 

"Nothing much when you get used to it, stranger," 
remarked Gardner. 

"Get used to it? How can a man get used to it when 
he is killed?" 

"'Course not, if he's dead. But suppose he don't get 
killed, he won't be so skittish the next time, I guess." 

"Well, that's cool," said Watson ; "I'm not so sure I'll 
enjoy this trip like I anticipated." 

"Where you going, stranger?" asked Loving. 

"A little trip out West in the interest of our boot and 
shoe house." 

"Ever been West before?" 


"Then you'll learn a whole lot before you return, 

"Seems I'm learning now," said Watson. 

"Hope so, stranger," remarked Loving. 

During the remainder of the journey a desultory con- 
versation was kept up relative to Indian raids, horse 
thieves and exciting events generally until Watson was 
apprehensive that something terrible would happen. 

Weatherford at this time was a straggling village of a 
few houses, not calculated to allay Watson's fears, es- 
pecially as it had more the appearance of a frontier sup- 
ply post than the county seat of an organized county. 


One thing Watson did learn while waiting over for the 
next stage going West, and that was that his firm did not 
manufacture the right kind of footwear for the Western 
trade. He learned that shoes were tabooed entirely, and 
the kind of boots the cowboys would tolerate must have 
fancy tops and high heels. This much he informed his 
firm in his first letter East. 

But what he had not yet learned was that not only 
must he know the kind of article for the market, but that 
a transformation must take place in Billy Watson before 
he could expect to take many orders for boots. 

Like all salesmen, Watson was fond of spinning yarns 
and could relate some good ones, too. 

The opportunity to indulge in this pastime presented 
itself the first evening in Weather ford. 

After supper the proprietor, all the guests and many 
of the male population of the town assembled in the office 
of the Carson & Lewis House, among them, three or four 

It was not long before Watson monopolized the con- 
versation and became the center attraction of the evening. 

The cowboys resented this, and decided that the "ten- 
derfoot" was too fresh, and sprung the old range gag on 

Listening patiently to one of his most brilliant selec- 
tions, without even an encouraging smile, one of their 
number said : 

"Now, stranger, if it don't make any difference with - 
you, and you won't get angry, we don't care to believe 
that story." 

A sickly smile overspread Watson's face, and, while 
very much chagrined he was sharp enough to see that 
the joke was on him, and invited all hands to the bar. 

The next morning, before the stage arrived, the pro- 


prietor, who took a friendly interest in Watson, called 
him aside, and in a few kind words informed him that it 
would be better to lay his derby aside and wear a hat 
more in harmony with his surroundings. Quick to see 
the logic in the suggestion, he bought a broad-brim Stet- 
son, which met the approval of the cowboys. 

But it was only after his experience in the town of 
Comanche that Watson acknowledged that he was fully 
initiated into the mysteries of the "Wild West." 

Here he met congenial spirits who led him to a humil- 
iating exhibition of his skill as a sprinter. As villainous 
a plot as was ever hatched by conspirators was planned 
by those who professed to be his friends. 

In company with four of the conspirators, Watson hired 
ah old stagecoach and started to a country dance, ten 
miles distant. In the meantime ten more of the con- 
spirators, dressed as Comanches, sneaked out of town 
and formed an ambuscade where the road dipped through 
a dark ravine. 

When the stage was passing through the defile the im- 
itation Indians dashed from concealment, whooping, 
shouting and firing their guns. Four grasped the horses 
by their bits and the others rushed to the stage. Wat- 
son and his companions jumped out and tried to escape. 
Two fell, exclaiming that they were shot. The others 
took the lead and yelled for Watson to come on. In the 
melee they ran through the line of the supposed Indians 
and headed for the town. After a spirited chase, during 
which Watson's companions all fell from the fusilade 
kept up by the pursuing Indians, Bill Watson ran into 
the town of Comanche more dead than alive, with a lurid 
story to relate. 

It was several days before he learned the truth and 
was willing to admit that even a clever drummer was not 


equal to the cunning of a bunch of Texas cow punchers. 
To Billy Watson it was so realistic that he manufactured 
a hair-raising story that had all the elements of the real 

In Bed With a Cougar 

In the spring of 1879 Texas and Kentuck visited Jess 
Ellison's cow camp on the North Prong of Hubbard's 
creek about four miles southeast of Albany, where the 
boys had selected a temporary camp until the headquar- 
ters ranch was established a few miles below. 

The camp was on the shore of a deep water hole under 
a spreading elm tree. 

Both Texas and Kentuck were welcome in any cow 
camp on the range, and always enjoyed these outings. 

When Sam Jackson, the cook on this occasion, began 
to hustle provisions for supper, he discovered that the 
outfit was shy on meat, and appealed to Ellison. When 
informed of the situation, Ellison ordered two of the 
boys to mount their ponies and drive in a fat yearling. 
The yearling was butchered and the carcass hung on a 
limb near the fire, and some choice portions fried for 

The conversation while eating was chiefly relative to 
the depredations of a large cougar that had been killing 
calves and yearlings on the range along North Prong. 

"Riley Carter saw the blamed thing kill one of Uncle 
George Greer's yearlings last week, but was too far away 
to secure a shot," said Roe Leffle, one of Greer's cowboys 
stopping in Ellison's camp over night. 

"Yes, he's onto his job, sure enough," said Sam Jack- 
son ; "he has killed a dozen head in the last two months. 
That's part of our business to hunt him down and kill 
him. I believe he has a den in the rocky bluff below 
Royal's place." 


"Have you any guns and dogs in camp?" inquired 

"Two long-barrel Winchesters and that old hound 
— can't run much, but good nose for the trail." 

"Well, Kentuck and I will remain over tomorrow, and 
we will hunt the yellow devil," remarked Texas. 

"That's just what I would suggest," said Ellison. "It 
will be exciting sport to run him to cover and take a pot- 
shot at him." 

During the remainder of the evening the conversation 
was general; no particular subject of interest was can- 
vassed by the group around the fire. 

The air was chilly and the boys made what was called 
a grand spread ; that is, they laid their blankets in one 
large bed and snuggled up together to keep warm. 

When all had retired old Tige, the hound, curled up 
on one side of the blankets and it was not long until the 
concert of snores gave unmistakable evidence that the 
men and the dog were wrapped in slumber. 

Sometime near midnight — that hour friendliest to sleep 
and silence, the hour when "ghosts walk and graveyards 
yawn," — something happened. 

About this time old Tige awoke and scented danger in 
the air. He gave an ominous sniff, followed by a sharp 
bark, as he bravely dashed out toward the tree where the 
carcass of the yearling hung. For the briefest part of a 
moment there was a low whining noise, then a loud 
piercing cat squall, mixed with the sharp painful yelps of 
the hound as he rushed back to the blankets for pro- 
tection. But as he was so closely followed by the cougar 
that he could not stop, both dog and cougar ran over 
the sleeping forms of the cow punchers. 

It would be hard to tell which was scared the worst, 
the dog, the cougar or the men under the blankets. The 


cougar gave an agonizing screech and disappeared like a 
yellow streak in the night. Jess Ellison and Sam Jack- 
son rolled over the bank into the water ; Texas, Kentuck 
and the rest of the boys took to the open prairie and ran 
some distance before they realized the situation. The 
blamed old hound was scared so bad he sat down upon 
his tail and howled. It was almost daylight before the 
camp quieted down. 

"Say, Texas," said Sam Jackson the next morning, 
"wasn't that the darnedest mixup of blankets, cow punch- 
ers, cougar and dog you ever heard of?" 

"Sure thing, Sam ; but I would not think that it re- 
quired a cougar to compel you and Jess to take a bath." 

"Depends on which side you occupy when the cougar 
arrives, Texas. Now if I had slept on your side, perhaps 
I would have run instead of attempting to swim." 

When the morning's repast was finished ponies were 
saddled and Texas, Kentuck, Ellison and Jackson rode 
up North Prong to the rocky bluff below Royal's ranch. 

No more favorable place for a cougar's den could be 
found. The stream washed the base of a rocky ledge, 
almost perpendicular, with large cavities covered with 
dense thickets of underbrush and catclaws. 

Climbing to the top of the ledge, Texas and Kentuck, 
each armed with Winchester rifles, kept a sharp lookout 
while the other boys beat the brush up and down the 
stream. Evidence of the recent presence of the big cat 
was discovered, and the hunters were on the qui vive for 
the sudden appearance of the cougar. 

It was about noon when the old dog struck a warm 
trail and soon located the cougar. With an angry scream 
of defiance the big cat broke cover and ran up the body 
of a leaning elm tree that hung over the water. But the 
intervening trees prevented the two riflemen from secur- 


ing a good shot. In the meantime the old hound barked 
at the foot of the tree, while the cougar snarled and spit 
in its anger. 

By careful maneuvering Texas secured an advan- 
tageous position and drew a bead on the cougar, but be- 
fore he could pull the trigger the cat sprang to the top 
of another small tree and Kentuck leveled his gun to 
fire. Again the cougar sprang, this time upon the rocky 
ledge and ran toward Texas, passing within a few feet 
of where he was standing. But with rare presence of 
mind he stood his ground and fired a ball into the beast 
behind its fore shoulder. With an unearthly scream, like 
the wail of a dying woman, the big cat made a spring 
at her slayer. But the leaden messenger had penetrated 
her heart and she fell a mass of yellow at his feet, jerk- 
ing in her death struggle to the edge of the bluff, where 
she fell into the water below. But Sam Jackson threw 
his rope and dragged her to the shore, and he and Jess 
Ellison removed the skin. When stretched to full length 
this large female cougar measured nine feet from tip of 
nose to the tip of its tail. 

Texas was the hero of the hour, having stood his 
ground in the face of danger and killed a ferocious wild 
beast that had long depredated on the herds of the cat- 
tle men. 

Roping a Full-Grown Deer on the Range 

However honest might be the intentions of the trail 
boss, it frequently happened that an outfit from Southern 
Texas, driving a large herd to Kansas or other northern 
points, accumulated many stragglers that drifted into the 
herds from the local ranges along the trail. 

To protect their interests, many of the large ranches 
in Shackelford, Throckmorton, Archer and Baylor coun- 
ties sent their cowboys to the crossing on Red river, 


where the stragglers were cut out and driven back to 
their home range. 

On one occasion Texas, Luke McCabe and Mart 
Gentry were sent north as far as Doan's store, at the 
trail crossing. 

They were absent ten days on the trip and cut a herd 
of thirty head, and started the bunch south. But while 
holding them over night there was a stampede, and the 
steers raced down the river and were lost in the brakes. 

After following traces of the runaways the next morn- 
ing, until they were lost in the S. B. Burnett range, the 
boys scattered, under agreement of a rendezvous on the 
Big Wichita at the mouth of Beaver creek. 

Fortunately Burk Burnett maintained a line-riding 
camp at this point, and when Texas and the other boys 
arrived Tom Pickett, the range boss, extended them the 
usual hospitality, and they decided to make this a com- 
mon point from which to ride the range, in hope of 
rounding up the runaways. 

The first night in this camp was out of the ordinary in 
two respects. The Burnett outfit possessed a pack of 
hounds and a wild Irishman by the name of Pat O'Tool. 

After supper Pickett, who was a sportsman when the 
opportunity offered, invited the visitors to go cat hunting. 
Texas and O'Tool were the only two who accepted, 
O'Tool being the new cook for the Burnett outfit. 

Texas and Pickett mounted their ponies and the Irish- 
man followed on the pack mule. 

It was a moonlit night, but shortly after they started 
a bank of clouds came up in the southwest, and when the 
hounds struck a trail and were in full swing a light 
thunder shower burst upon the trio, veiling the moon 
and casting a dark shadow over the valley. 

The pack of hounds pushed the game to cover in a thick- 


et along the bank of Beaver creek. The animal was at bay 
surrounded by the dogs when the three hunters arrived 
on the scene. 

By the aid of intermittent flashes of lightning they in- 
distinctly saw something in the thicket. 

"What do you reckon it is, Pickett ?" said Texas. 

"I expect that it is a bobcat or a coyote," replied 

"But seems to me it looks larger than either," remarked 

"Look out, boys," said Pickett, "when she flashes again 
I'll rope the dad-blasted thing." Suiting his action to his 
words, he uncoiled his lariat. 

True to his promise, he threw his lariat and made fast 
to the animal, which proved to be a full-grown buck 
deer. Then there followed one of the greatest scrim- 
mages you ever heard of. 

That cussed deer jumped straight up in the air, snort- 
ed, bucked and ran in a circle, winding the lariat arounci 
O'Tool and his mule. 

The rope was wet from the rain, and when the cold, 
wet strands struck his muleship, he threw down his head 
and began to buck, pitching the unfortunate Irishman off 
in front, and prancing all over him with his hoofs. 

In the meantime Pickett and Texas, with the aid of 
the dogs, succeeded in throwing and tying the deer, with 
all four feet together. 

By this time O'Tool had scrambled to a sitting posture, 
and was carefully examining his anatomy, to find where 
he was injured. 

"Holy Mither, I'm killed entirely, and that heathen 
bruit of a mule has broken every bone in me body, bad 
luck to the divil. I'll be a dead gossoon and never see 
the bogs of ould Ireland again." 


"Oh, get up, Pat, and lend a hand to tie this deer on 
the mule." 

"May the divil fly away wid yez, and the ould witches 
comb yez hair wid a garden rake if I iver listen to yez 
soft voice, me honey. Here I am a respectable Irish gen- 
tleman, wid me feelings hurt and me best suit of clothes 
ruined, all for nothing at all, at all." 

"Oh, cut it out, Pat, and let's go," said Pickett. 

And the deer was carried into camp alive. 

Christmas on the Range 

The old-time cowboy made the most out of life that 
circumstances would permit, and never became discour- 
aged or backed down along the line of duty, no matter 
how large the obstacle that confronted him. 

When out on the open range, far from the home ranch, 
with no white man's habitation within miles of his lonely 
camp, where he and his companions spent the hours of 
evenings, he always managed to extract a certain degree 
of comfort and amusement out of the situation. It often 
happened that the holidays and even Christmas, were 
spent in some sheltered valley or canyon, where a win- 
ter's camp was established to keep back the drifting cat- 
tle. These camps were generally supplied with a dugout 
among the brakes or on a mountain side near a deep 
water hole, convenient for line riding. 

During the winter of 1877 J. C. Lynch's outfit main- 
tained a camp on the headwaters of North Prong of Hub- 
bard's creek, near the south side of a low mountain that 
sheltered the camp from the north wind. 

It was an ideal place for a camp. North Prong made 
an abrupt turn where the water washed the base of a 
bluff during the flood-tide of the spring rains. In the 
side of this bluff a dugout had been excavated and cov- 


ered with timber and dirt. A rough door shut out coy- 
otes and other prowling varmints when the boys were ab- 
sent. Within this dugout the men bunked and kept their 

Ed Tucker, Joe Batts and Pat O'Laughlin did the hon- 
ors when they invited Texas and Kentuck to eat Christ- 
mas dinner with them. 

A wild turkey gobbler had been killed the night previ- 
ous, and was suspended from the tip of a bended sapling 
over a bed of live mesquite coals. O'Laughlin had been 
turning and basting it all morning, and as the noon hour 
approached it was brown and juicy. 

Joe Batts used his best skill making up a batch of 
dough and forming it into a large pone, well seasoned 
with tallow for shortening. This was baked in a large 
oven over a bed of coals and the embers piled upon the 

Ed Tucker exhibited the perfection of experience in 
the art of coffee-making, brewing it strong enough, as he 
expressed it, "to hold up an iron wedge." 

In the meantime, Kentuck, who had not forgotten the 
recipe for making "Tom and Jerry," soon had the mix- 
ture concocted to "the Queen's taste." 

Texas, who claimed to understand the anatomy of a 
turkey, was busy sharpening a butcher knife, prepara- 
tory to scientifically dissecting the bird at the proper 

Therefore, it was a jovial bunch of good fellows that 
assembled around the rough festival board that bright 
Christmas day. 

A bottle of pickles and a can of peaches gave the 
proper relish, and the "Tom and Jerry" made the spirits 
arise as fast as a glass of spirits went down. 

'Tis true that it was a Christmas dinner in the wilds, 


far removed from the conventional room, table and spot- 
less white cloth, set with artistic care and loaded with 
delicious viands. Tis equally true that the board was 
not graced with the presence of lovely woman, whose 
smiles and fluffy-ruffles, lend sunshine to the Christmas 
dinner. But, nevertheless, the good cheer and comrade- 
ship on that occasion will never be forgotten by those 
living who participated in the Christmas dinner on North 

"Say, boys, good-by," said Texas; "Kentuck and I 
have had a splendid time, and may you live long and 
prosper." And the comrades rode back to Albany well 
pleased with the recreation. 

It was occasions like this that cemented the friendship 
of those who lived on the frontier. 

Nowhere on top of earth was the brotherhood of man 
better exemplified than among the cowboys of the prairie 
country. Both time and money were at the disposal of 
your friend. Even life itself backed up that friendship 
when necessary to support a comrade. "Do unto others 
as you wish them to do unto you" was the unwritten 
law lived up to by the knights of "The Quirt and Spur." 

"Rough and ready, bold and brave, 
Money and friendship he freely gave ; 
A good Samaritan in time of need, 
Flying to the rescue with uttermost speed." 

Fort Mugginsville 

On an elevated plateau within ioo yards of the Clear 
Fork of the Brazos river, not far from the mouth of 
Deep creek, the early settlers found it necessary for the 
protection of their families to build a large stockade, in- 
closing about five acres of land. Within this enclosure 
they built rude log huts to furnish shelter and protection 
against the blasts of winter and the heat of summer. In 


the center of the stockade they built a schoolhouse large 
enough to accommodate all the children and the teacher. 
On Sundays this house was used for divine services. The 
stockade was about eight feet high, with loopholes, af- 
fording an excellent defense against Indian attacks. 

During the years from 1863 to 1875 the families of all 
ranchmen within a radius of 100 miles lived at Fort Mug- 
ginsville, often remaining for several weeks at a time with- 
out any protection, except a few old men and boys. But 
every woman in those days was a heroine, accustomed 
to using the rifle with deadly effect. During these periods 
the ranchmen and their cowboys were out on the open 
range, rounding-up, marking and branding cattle, camp- 
ing wherever night overtook them, often compelled to 
fight bands of Indians to prevent them carrying off the 
saddle ponies belonging to the outfit. 

Within the stockade the monotonous life was relieved 
by the attendance of the children at the school and the 
occasional visit of the frontier preacher. 

The school teacher, one William Veal, who afterward 
became one of the leading lawyers of Northwest Texas, 
was an original character, overflowing with humor and 
always ready to perpetrate a practical joke, that some- 
times complicated matters and introduced awkward and 
ludicrous situations. 

Among the ranchmen's families who resided in this lit- 
tle colony were the wife, son and two daughters of Uncle 
Joe Matthews, a typical frontiersman, big-hearted, hon- 
est and frank, always ready to come to the aid of a friend 
in distress. And, with few exceptions, everybody was 
Uncle Joe's friend. 

After the fall round-ups the cattle were turned loose 
to drift on the open range until the grass became green 
in the spring. Consequently, during the winter season 


the ranchmen and cowboys repaired to Fort Muggins- 
ville for the three months' idle time. One can imagine 
how soon this monotonous life of being penned up in a 
five-acre stockade would affect a live, robust cowboy. 
So, when Bill Veal taxed his mental faculties to devise 
amusement for the boys, his diversions were hailed with 
delight, especially the organization of a debating society. 

While others hailed the prospect of this new diversion 
with delight, Uncle Joe shook his head in a dubious man- 
ner, and seemed to possess a premonition of trouble 
ahead. Now, the old gent was easily embarrassed, and also 
had a slight defect in his vocal organs that added to his 
confusion when called on to take part in the evening's 
exercises. And notwithstanding the close ties of friend- 
ship between him and Bill Veal, he always viewed with 
suspicion any attempt on Bill's part to introduce any new 
form of entertainment. He had learned from past ex- 
perience that Veal did not hesitate to place him in an 
awkward position whenever opportunity presented. 

Some men seek honors and other men have honors 
thrust upon them. Uncle Joe belonged to the latter class. 
For it soon became apparent that he had been selected to 
take a leading part in these debates. And though he 
begged and pleaded with his tormentors to be left off the 
program, his name always headed the list in opposition to 
Bill Veal. The only saving clause in the situation was that 
he never lost his temper and even laughed over his own 
mistakes. Veal possessed an easy flow of words as well 
as a keen sense of humor, and consequently found Uncle 
Joe an easy mark for his witticisms. 

But as if these trying ordeals were not enough to ex- 
haust the patience of a saint, much less a whole-souled 
gentleman who was willing to undergo mental tortures 
to amuse his friends, the crowning act of conspiracy 


against Uncle Joe's peace of mind was his appointment 
to the office of justice of the peace. 

Some few weeks prior to the organization of the de- 
bating society, the cattlemen recognized the necessity of 
having some semblance of legal authority to appeal to in 
case of emergency, but as both Shackelford and Throck- 
morton were unorganized counties, attached to Palo 
Pinto for judicial purposes, it became necessary to have 
a justice of the peace at large for the whole community. 
The enthusiastic friends of Uncle Joe, without his knowl- 
edge, secured his appointment to the office, and after a 
great deal of persuasion induced him to qualify. But be- 
fore he became acquainted with the onerous duties of 
his office circumstances and Bill Veal were his undoing. 

As strange as it may seem, Dan Cupid visited this 
sparsely settled district of the Texas frontier and shot 
his arrow into the hearts of a lad and lassie within the 
narrow limits of Mugginsville. In almost any commun- 
ity this would have been an ordinary event, arousing only 
a passing interest. But within the stockade where the 
settlers were like one large family, every one took a per- 
sonal interest in the lovers. 

As soon as the engagement of (for the purposes of this 
story) Tom Guier and Lizzie Lafet was made known 
there was a general consultation held by the older and 
wiser heads. And as the young couple desired that the 
matter be not long delayed, it was decided that all ar- 
rangements could be made within a week, for necessity 
reduced the costumes of the bride and groom to a mini- 
mum, by reason of the great distance from any place 
where they could be purchased. This reduced the prepa- 
rations to preparing the wedding dinner and securing the 
proper authority to perform the ceremony. 

The itinerant Methodist minister having, after a brief 


visit, departed the week before, with no probability of 
his return within the next six months, his presence on 
the occasion was out of the question. The next legal 
authority, except Uncle Joe, was 150 miles distant, too 
far away to be considered. Consequently, notwithstand- 
ing all of his protests, Uncle Joe was told to consider 
himself engaged for the occasion. In his dilemma the 
good old gentleman turned to his friend Veal for advice, 
though he had many proofs of his disloyalty. Now, 
though Veal was a true and loyal friend of Uncle Joe's 
and always helped him in his business affairs and never 
failed to respond when called on, when it came to an op- 
portunity to have amusement at his friend's expense he 
did not stop to consider the solemnity of even the mar- 
riage ceremony. Consequently, Uncle Joe proved an 
easy victim to Veal's blandishments, and with confidence 
disarmed of all suspicion he followed Veal from the fort 
one evening to the open prairie, where they could recline 
on the grass beneath a liveoak tree, and where they could 
have a confidential talk, and where the confiding old gen- 
tleman listened to the advice of his friend, who volun- 
teered to assist and instruct him in the necessary mar- 
riage ceremony. But he was not an apt scholar, and 
jumbled the teacher's words in a shocking way that was 
not at all promising. He mixed up the classic words of 
Veal with the localisms of the frontier. 

As the time approached for the trying ordeal, Uncle 
Joe grew nervous and did not seem to enjoy his accus- 
tomed meals, and his good wife Catherine became anx- 
ious, and wanted to dose him with herb tea, but he sadly 
shook his head and beckoned his friend Veal aside for 
another rehearsal. 

The wedding day arrived. It was an ideal day in mid- 
winter. The crystallized dew sparkled like diamonds as 


the first rays of the sun pierced the crisp atmosphere of 
the early morning. All nature began to greet the king 
of day as his bright face came in view over the top of 
the sloping hills in the east. The lowing of the cattle, 
neighing of the horses and shouts of the cowboys an- 
nounced that Mugginsville had chased the drowsy god 
of sleep over the stockade, and that the inhabitants were 
preparing to begin the routine duties of the day. In a 
comparatively short time the buzz of daily life was in 
full force and Mugginsville assumed its normal every- 
day condition. 

The wedding ceremony was announced to take place 
at 2 p. m., and as a general invitation had been extended 
to the whole range, the cowboys from ioo miles distant 
were expected to arrive during the morning hours, for 
winter and summer alike they were prepared to camp 
out, and were always at home on the prairie when night 
overtook them. Many, no doubt, had camped w r ithin 
easy distance the night before. 

The importance of the occasion weighed heavily upon 
Uncle Joe's mind, and he was anything but gay on this 
festal occasion. And when he hunted up Bill Veal for 
a final consultation, he looked like a motherless calf. The 
colloquy that took place on this occasion of the final re- 
hearsal of the rite of matrimony can only be based on the 
story often repeated by the Hon. William Veal in after 
years. There can be no doubt that it was ludicrous in 
the extreme, and something after the following style of 
frontier lingo : 

"Say, Bill, I'm about to quit — stampede — leave the bed 
ground and take to the brush. Blamed if this marriage 
business hasn't locoed me. I can't remember that dod- 
gasted stuff you have been feeding me for a week. Say, 
Bill, what's the use in me bucking: around in a bald-faced 


shirt and a fried collar, like a two-year-old in heel-fly 
time? Let the blamed idiots wait until the sky-pilot 
comes back again. I don't sabe this J. P. business — never 
hankered after it, but you blamed fools drove me into the 
corral and branded me before I could kick." 

"Now, look here, Uncle Joe," said Veal, "you can't 
quit the drive now, and disgrace Catherine and the chil- 
dren. Every galoot on the range within ioo miles of 
Mugginsville will be here, to see you hitch 'em up in 
double harness — the chips are all stacked, and you will 
have to play the game out — no chance to take the back 
trail now, Uncle Joe. Of course, you feel a little upset, 
but just think how happy those mavericks will be when 
you put the legal brand on them, and they will be allowed 
to herd together without any one objecting to the mark 
and brand." 

"Oh, chuck the whole business, Bill ; I'm sure sick, and 
I know I'll ball up in the middle of the trail, with that 
blamed lingo you have been giving me." 

"Here, Uncle Joe, brace up," and Veal pulled a sus- 
picious bottle from the bosom of his shirt and handed it 
to his friend. After each had paid his respects to the 
contents, the rehearsal was gone through for the last 
time and they returned to the hustling little fort. 

But Uncle Joe became absent-minded and passed by 
his most intimate friends without noticing them. The 
ranchmen and cowboys missed his usual cheery greeting. 
He walked as if in a dream, and did not answer Aunt 
Catherine when she called to him from the cabin door. 
If ever the victim of malicious fun-making suffered the 
full penalty of his credulity it was this confiding old gen- 
tleman who would not have hurt the feelings of a child, 
much less to have imposed upon his friends. In Uncle 
Joe's case it was downright cruelty to burden him with 


the legal responsibility of the marriage. Nature had en- 
dowed him with a kind and loving disposition, over- 
flowing with generosity. His simple life on the frontier 
had removed him from the wiles and sharp dealings of 
competition, and he was unfitted to cope with deception 
of any kind, much less to suspect his best friends, for his 
whole life had been an open book read by all men. Con- 
sequently, he overestimated the importance of his posi- 
tion and tried to measure up to it. For once in his life 
he could not enter into the jolly spirit of the occasion. 
He had been removed from his accustomed place as host, 
and was no longer the "hail fellow well met." It seemed 
to him that he had been set aside as a vicarious sacrifice 
by his friends and neighbors. It even sobered Bill Veal 
to see his friend so dejected, and caused him for the 
moment pangs of regret. But matters had proceeded too 
far for him to call a halt. 

The crucial moment arrived, and the little plaza around 
the schoolhouse was crowded with the guests. The bride 
and groom, as presentable as the circumstances would 
permit, came through a lane made by the cowboys to 
where Uncle Joe, supported by Bill Veal, stood in front 
of the schoolhouse door, and all the men doffed their 
hats and a silence, so profound that it made Uncle Joe 
tremble, fell over the assembly. 

One minute — two minutes — three minutes before Uncle 
Joe could summon courage enough to speak. 

He looked helplessly at the eager faces before him, 
coughed nervously, wiped his face several times with his 
bandana, gasped and finally said : 

"Tom Guir, are you plumb sure that you love Lizzie 

"Sure I do, Uncle Joe," replied Tom. 

"And you want me to give you a legal bill of sale to 
all right and title to mark and brand her ?" 


"That's what I'm here for, Uncle Joe." 

"Lizzie, has Tom always played fair with you — didn't 
sneak around on the blind side of you to palaver — has 
made an honest and square deal with you?" 

"He did the square thing, Uncle Joe." 

"Then I (aside to Veal: 'Say, Bill, I'm going to cut 
out all that funny business') declare you two to be hus- 
band and wife. (Oh, say, Bill, I forgot all about that 
bursting asunder business, and I'm going to stop the deal 
right now.) Now I'm done — you youngsters trot off and 
behave yourselves." 

A loud shout went up from the crowd, a rush was made 
for the bride and groom and a general handshaking took 
place. Everybody seemed as happy as if it were their 
own wedding day. Uncle Joe soon recovered his wonted 
cheerfulness, and was the liveliest kid in the bunch. 

The schoolhouse was turned into a banquet hall, and 
a royal feast was spread. The bill of fare consisted of 
wild turkeys, venison, prairie chickens and quail ; pones 
of light bread, hot biscuits and hot coffee ; wild plum jelly 
and grape preserves; cakes and pies in abundance. And 
• it was the j oiliest crowd that ever assembled around a 
banquet table to enjoy to its full measure the true hap- 
piness of those who bow not to caste or position in so- 

After the banquet the evening and the night following 
was given over to dancing and other merry rounds of 
pleasure, that kept pace with the hands of the clock that 
hung on the schoolhouse wall. 

A Marriage Under Difficulties 

Imagine, if you can, the conditions during a contin- 
uous rain in the semi-arid district of Northwest Texas. 
For ten days the heavy rain clouds hung low over the 


entire landscape, and everything was soaking wet. As 
an Englishman would say, 'it was beastly weather.' The 
great watersheds of the open prairie had turned its tor- 
rents into the valleys, and the dry beds of the canyons 
had become rushing rivers, obliterating all traces of the 
streams that ordinarily accommodated the head waters. 

Kentuck was sitting in the cooped-up office of the old 
picket courthouse, looking out through the small 8 by 10 
glass window, at the gloomy sky and misty prairie, while 
the continuous dripping of the eves gave him a miserable, 
depressed feeling. He came nearer being real homesick 
than at any time since he left the mountains of his native 
State. As if in response to his ardent desire for some- 
thing to happen, there slouched into the room the drip- 
ping figure of Ed Tucker, one of Lynch's cowboys. 

''Hello, Tucker," said Kentuck, "what brings you to 
town through the rain?" 

"Very important business, Kentuck." 

"I'll stake my money on that, Tucker, or you would 
not be riding a day like this." 

"You bet it had to come off or you would never have 
seen this coyote. And you have got to play a hand in 
this game, too, Kentuck, so you might as well pull on 
your slicker, old man." 

"What, you don't mean to say you came after me on a 
day like this?" 

"Yep, can't do the job myself, and I'm afraid it will 
spoil if it is put off." 

"What's all this chin music about, anyway, Tucker?" 

"Why, Joe Batts has roped old man McCarty's gal and 
wants you to brand her, so he will have a legal right to 
put her in his corral." 

"Gee-whiz, Tucker, they will have to put it off until 
the weather clears. Every hole on the prairie is full and 


running over, and we can't find a pony or ford a single 

"Yep, that's so, but we can swim them." 

"But, I tell you, I haven't any pony, and I'll be dod- 
blamed if I'm going out to hunt one." 

"Got no excuse, Kentuck. I led one in, and she can 
swim like a duck." 

"Say, Tucker, you are not serious, I hope. Why, it 
would be worse than foolishness for me to go out in this 
weather. Besides, it doesn't give me any time to study 
up an appropriate ceremony. I don't know a thing about 
tying the matrimonial knot, Tucker." 

"Sorry, old man, but Joe said I was to take no ex- 

"Now, see here, Tucker, be reasonable for once in 
your life. I can't see any harm in delaying this matter 
for a day or two." 

"Of course, you don't, Kentuck, 'cause you are not go- 
ing to be married, but you are going to attend to this 
marrying business all the same, so get ready." 

"Oh, go to thunder. I suppose there is no use argu- 
ing with you ?" 

"Now, that's sensible, Kentuck. You didn't suppose I 
was going back without you, after swimming all the way 
here, did you?" 

"How many streams are there to swim, Tucker?" 

"North Prong, Salt Prong and Deep creek are the 
main ones, and a whole lot of small draws." 

"Great goodness, we will be under water half of the 

"Yep, most of the time." 

"Say, Tucker, you are not really in earnest. You 
know you are only trying to play a practical joke, and 
give me a ducking in North Prong, and have the laugh 


on me. I haven't forgotten the time you played one on 
me by lending me that old gray cayuse that threw me 
several somersaults, while all you yaps split your sides 

"Hold on, Kentuck; this is no monkey business, old 
man ; it is plumb downright serious. Joe will have to be 
spliced to-day or wait until the fall round-ups are all over. 
Why, you wouldn't treat a sneaking coyote that mean, 
Kentuck ? Just think of it — making Joe wait six months 
— he would pine away to a shadow." 

"Oh, well, I guess there is no way out of it but to go. 
If I am drowned I hope you will plant flowers on my 

"Of course, you will need wringing out when we get 
there, but think of how well pleased Joe will be when he 
knows that he has a legal bill of sale to that girl." 

A very few minutes sufficed to make arrangements 
for the journey, and Kentuck and Tucker were off for 
the McCarty ranch. 

As they passed the door of Papa Barre's hotel, Ken- 
tuck informed him that if any more fools came along 
looking for the J. P., to shoot them and he would hold 
an inquest over them when he returned. 

A more depressing and unromantic journey than their 
ride on that rainy morning cannot be conceived. There 
was a continuous downpour and the trail ran a perfect 
sluice of water. The smallest ravines were bank full, 
and the lowlands along the streams were great lakes. 
All the trees, shrubbery and vegetation was dripping, 
soaking wet and even the prairie hawk, sitting on a dead 
mesquite limb, looked forlorn with his feathers plastered 
down with heavy moisture. Nothing but the tiny frogs 
seemed to be alive to the situation and enjoying them- 


Several times Kentuck and Tucker rode saddle-skirt 
deep through the water covering the trail, but it was at 
the crossing of North Prong that they made their first 
plunge into the seething flood. 

Tucker led, and his little wiry mustang was soon blow- 
ing the water from his nostrils as he swam breast high 
across the stream. This encouraged Kentuck to urge his 
pony to follow, which he did after registering a protest. 
When safely over they both dismounted to allow the an- 
imals to rest. Then they mounted and were off for Salt 
Prong, riding through a valley running knee deep in 

The ford on Salt Prong proved to be more difficult 
and dangerous. The rush of the head waters caused the 
banks to wash, and the trail at the crossing had caved in 
at the water's edge, leaving an abrupt descent. 

"Take the lead, Kentuck," said Tucker. "It is your 
time to navigate, old man." 

"Not on your life, Tucker; you are the guide on this 
journey, and I don't propose to divide the honors with 
you. So just mosey along, my son, and take your an- 
nual bath." 

"Oh, of course, I knew you were going to flunk, Ken- 
tuck, but I wanted to show you some courtesy, even if 
you are a 'tenderfoot.' " 

"Cinch your fly-trap, and hit the trail, Tucker; it will 
be noon before we arrive at McCarty's ranch, and think 
of that wedding dinner spoiling while you are hesitating 
to irrigate that alkali dust on your back." 

"Cheese the racket, Kentuck, or you will swallow so 
much red mud mixed with a little water that it will take 
a derrick to lift you out of the way of the chuck wagon 
when it comes along next spring." 

By persuasion of his spurs, Tucker urged his pony to 


slide down the bank and plunge into the water. The 
pony and rider went out of sight in the swift running 
stream, and when they appeared Tucker slid off behind 
and grabbed his pony by the tail, and the animal towed 
him across. Before he had time to turn, Kentuck urged 
his pony into the water, and went through the same per- 
formance given by Tucker, being his first experience tail- 
ing onto a pony. 

In this way they successfully forded Deep creek and 
came in sight of McCarty's ranch, not far from the con- 
fluence of Deep creek and the Clear Fork of the Brazos 

The ranch house was built of rubble stone, a story and 
a half high, with a corral and a few sheds near it. On 
this occasion it stood in the center of a lake about a mile 
wide, with the water three feet deep in the lower story. 
Out of a half-window in the gable the heads of the oc- 
cupants could be seen, watching the movements of the 
two as they hesitated on the edge of the lake. 

"Seems to me you are losing time, Tucker, fooling 
around this water hole," remarked Kentuck. "Why don't 
you lead on? I'm anxious to taste the flavor of that wild 
turkey that I know Mother McCarty has been cooking 
for this occasion." 

"There you go again, Kentuck; I would think your 
mind was occupied with the marriage ceremony instead 
of wasting your chin music on me." 

"Thunder, this rainy weather has knocked all the cere- 
mony out of me, and I can't remember a word of it. Go 
ahead and let us get through with it as quick as possible, 

"Well, here goes; spur up, Kentuck. Head for the 
liveoak and we will miss the ravine on the left of the 
trail. It might give us some trouble if we fell into the 
catclaws that grow there." 


Notwithstanding the average depth was only three 
feet, there were several depressions it was necessary to 
swim before they arrived at the ranch house. 

The whole family, including Joe Batts, were upstairs, 
in what may properly be called the loft. Downstairs 
the water was three feet deep, and the dogs, pigs and 
chickens were making a brave effort to keep from drown- 

Using their lassos for stake ropes the ponies were tied 
to the open work of the stairway and allowed to drift 
behind the house out of the current. Then in response 
to the invitation to come up, they climbed to the loft and 
extended their congratulations to the prospective bride 
and groom and received a hearty welcome. 

The room, nothing more than a vacant garret, fur- 
nished but little space to maneuvre in, consequently there 
was no place for the candidates for matrimony to change 
clothes for the ceremony, however much they may have 
desired to do so. 

In fact, the ceremony partook more of the burlesque 
than solemnity, for the ridiculous figure of the J. P. try- 
ing to summon sufficient dignity for the occasion, while 
he shivered like a half-drowned rat, with no chance to 
escape, produced the realistic feature of a comic opera. 

There were a few minutes' awkward silence, during 
which no one seemed inclined to take the initiative, and 
it fell to the lot of the J. P. to set the ball rolling. 

"Oh, I say, Joe Batts, what do you think I permitted 
Ed Tucker to tow me through all this water and mud 
for ? Get a move on you, quick, and lead Mollie McCarty 
over here by the window, and I will tie you so hard and 
fast together that it will take a cyclone to burst the 

Joe turned red in the face, and the bride-elect began 


to snicker. Good old Mother McCarty came to the rescue 
and hustled them in shape before the J. P. 

"Now, hold up your right hands — no, dod blame it, 
that's wrong — of course I don't want to swear you — say, 
Tucker, if you don't get that grin off your face there will 
be a funeral instead of a wedding — Oh, yes, now I re- 
member, join your right hands — say, Joe, don't you know 
your right hand from your left? Now, Mollie, if you 
don't stop snickering I'll throw up the job and quit." 

"Joe Batts, are you willing to take this girl, Miss Mol- 
lie McCarty, to be your lawfully wedded wife? Well, 
why don't you say yes — what are you looking so skeered 
for? — Did I hear you say yes? Well, it was a mighty 
weak yes, but I guess it will do. 

"Now, Joe, I'm not going to ask you to promise to sup- 
port her, and those other fool questions the preachers 
shove at a fellow, because I don't think you are equal to 
the burden without the help of Uncle Jake McCarty, but 
if you don't try, I'll have you indicted. 

"Now, Mollie McCarty, do you take this sap-headed 
galoot, Joe Batts, to be your lawfully wedded husband? 
Say, Mollie, if you don't stop giggling long enough to 
say yes, I'll go away and leave you half spliced. 

"Oh, that's a mighty chirpy little yes; sounds like a 
chicken when it first pips the shell. 

"Now, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the 
law, and according to the Constitution of the United 
States and of this State, and in the presence of the wit- 
nesses here assembled, I pronounce you husband and wife. 
And may the Lord have mercy on your souls. 

"Say, Tucker, what are you doubled up in a knot for? 
You look like a case of cramp colic." 

"Now, Kentuck," said Batts, "I'm much obliged to you 
until you are better paid. You know I'll not have any 
money until the boss sells some beeves." 


"Oh, that's all right, Joe; don't let a little thing like 
that bother you." 

"Come here, Mollie, and let me give you a piece of 
fatherly and motherly advice. Begin now to train 
Josephus in the way he should go, and if he departs 
therefrom, make him cook, wash and milk the cows." 

Notwithstanding the difficulties, Mrs. McCarty set out 
a delicious lunch of wild turkey, bread, coffee, cakes, 
pies, and other good things. 

And after an hour's rest, Tucker and Kentuck started 
out on their return journey to Albany. 

This marriage under difficulties and similar events go 
to prove how brave and cheerful the early settlers were 
under trying ordeals. 



Down the valley the herd came, ten thousand or more; 
Clattering hoofs, clashing horns and a bellowing roar. 

The traffic in buffalo hides was greater than the trail 
and ranch supply business combined, during the hunting 
seasons from 1875 to 1879. 

Thirty tons of lead and five tons of powder, stored in 
the warehouse and magazine attached to the Conrad & 
Rath supply store, gave some idea of the immense trade 
done by this firm alone, to say nothing of the business 
done by the firms of York & Draper, William McKamey 
and T. E. Jackson, each carrying hunter's supplies. 

Around these stores one could join the groups of sun- 
bronzed hunters, and listen to marvelous stories. 

They were the favorite resorts for Kentuck to spend 
his leisure time, and created within him a wild desire to 
visit the scenes where men risked their lives and endured 
all kinds of hardships. 

No doubt that many incidents related were exaggerat- 
ed and perhaps some pure fiction, for your hunters and 
fishermen are great romancers. 

But uncertainty is a most potent tonic to whet the ap- 
petite for curiosity, and even the experienced hunters 
were often led to investigate the rumors that were set 
afloat by garrulous tongues. 

Especially interesting was the story told of a mysteri- 


ous personage known as "Smoky." He was reported to 
come and go from camp to camp on the range like the 
spirit of the "Wandering Jew." 

If he had any antecedent history no one knew, and the 
freedom of frontier license forbade investigation by 
those who might otherwise have questioned him. 

If he had any haunts where he hid during those per- 
iods when he disappeared for weeks and months, no one 
had ever discovered them. 

Three times in five years "Smoky" had visited Fort 
Griffin, but the dance halls and saloons were not patron- 
ized by him. Ammunition, coffee and tobacco were the 
extent of his purchases, and he did not tarry long after 
securing them. 

Notwithstanding the mystery that surrounded this 
strange man, nothing crooked had ever been charged 
against him. 

Kentuck saw "Smoky" on one of his rare visits, and 
sized him up as the one and only frontier tramp. But 
later on he came to know this queer character under cir- 
cumstances that gave him an opportunity to know that 
beneath the surface there was true manhood. 

The White Buffalo 

"Hello, John! did you see the white buffalo?" 

"White nothing ! What kind of guff are you giving 
me, Dick?" 

"Sure thing; one has been seen on the range near the 
Moor Brothers' camp, on the headwaters of the Clear 

"Oh, I guess so," said John with an incredulous smile. 

"Yes, one of the Moor boys is willing to swear to it — 
saw it himself." 

"He must have been loaded with fire water." 


"Maybe so, but Conrad offered $100 for its hide, and 
Charley Moor said that he would bring it in if some 
other outfit did not beat him to it." 

The conversation was in the hearing of Kentuck and 
aroused his curiosity. Hunting up Wilhelm, at Conrad's 
store, he inquired as to the truth of the rumor. 

"Charley Moor is reliable," said Wilhelm, "and if he 
said there is a white buffalo on the range, it is true." 

"If true, 'tis a rare freak of nature." 

"Yes, nature plays some queer pranks in the mystery 
of reproduction. A white buffalo knocks a white black- 
bird off the Christmas tree." 

Very few believed the report, and it was treated as 
a huge joke by the old hunters. Nevertheless, the im- 
probable aroused curiosity, and every "doubting 
Thomas" kept an eye out when searching the range with 
his field glass. 

The Moor brothers promised a "high old time" to the 
boys of their outfit when the white buffalo was killed. 

One morning, a week before Christmas, Henry Palm's 
freight outfit came to the Moor camp to haul hides to 
Griffin, and Charley Moor was preparing to accompany 
him to the fort to purchase supplies. 

"Billy, if you will go out and kill the white buffalo I'll 
bring back enough fire water to give the boys a week's 

"All right, Charley; here goes for a try." He picked 
up the "50-50" rifle and disappeared up the canyon, and 
it was near the noon hour when he returned with a pure 
white buffalo hide. 

"Well, I'll be darned if you haven't made good, Billy; 
how did you turn the trick?" 

"Got him on a long shot of a thousand yards." 

"Hurrah for Billy !" shouted the boys. 


Buffalo Hunting in 1877 

It was the middle of October, 1877, that ideal time of 
the year in Northwest Texas when the balmy air of fall 
sends a thrill of invigorating vitality through the system 
of man, making him long for the range, where the buf- 
falo, deer, antelope, and wild turkeys abound in count- 
less numbers, and the possible chance of meeting a band 
of hostile Indians to add the spice of adventure to the 

The conditions appealed to Texas and Kentuck like the 
spirit that prompts the mountain climber to face the rug- 
ged Alps. No man could live twelve months in a frontier 
town listening to the marvelous stories of the wild life of 
the buffalo hunters, who slaughtered their thousands in 
a season's hunt, without being possessed with an ungov- 
erning desire to visit the scene. 

Consequently, it was no great effort for Texas and 
Kentuck to persuade two congenial companions to join 
them for a journey to the "Staked Plains." 

Nicknamed, respectively, Tennessee and Missouri, in 
honor of their native States; these young men entered 
into the enterprise with all the enthusiasm of novices. 

It was one evening in the back room of Tennessee's 
drug store that the route was planned and the details 
worked out. 

It was agreed to follow the Overland trail via the 
Greer crossing on Hubbard's creek enroute and return 
over the divide at the head of the Clear Fork via the 
"Shinnery" and Old Fort Phantom Hill. 

One day's preparation secured Uncle Joe Nixon, a 
typical Englishman, and his span of horses and a covered 

The necessary equipment of guns, ammunition, cook- 


ing utensils and provisions, with plenty of blankets, were 
loaded into the wagon the night before, and in the early 
hours of the next morning Uncle Joe awakened the four 
young men for an early start. And one of those de- 
lightful journeys overland across the vast prairie coun- 
try of Texas was begun. Only those who have enjoyed 
the experience of the open-air ride during the day and 
camping out at night in the uninhabited West, can un- 
derstand the exhilarating influence that animates the 
traveler for recreation. 

After crossing the Greer ford on Hubbard's creek, the 
trail gradually ascended to the open prairie country, 
where distance had no limit except the failure of the 
eye to catch the outline of space. 

Off sixty miles to the southwest could be seen 
the blue outline of Signal Peak, a flat top mountain used 
by the Indians when on the warpath to build signal fires. 
Thirty miles due West the Double mountains marked the 
course of the trail, winding its way like the track of a 
great serpent across the open country to the Staked 

Deer and antelope proved an easy mark for Texas' 
Henry rifle enroute, and each day's supply of fresh meat 
was fat and abundant. 

Beyond meeting a few wagons loaded with buffalo 
hides, nothing transpired worth relating, until the outfit 
camped on the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos, 
three days out from Albany. 

The wagon was driven to a bend near a deep water 
hole, where a grove of cottonwood and elm trees sup- 
plied an excellent camping ground. 

The sun was sinking in the west before the prepara- 
tions for the night were complete, and Uncle Joe had an- 
nounced supper, when the call and answering call of 
wild turkeys were heard approaching- the stream. 


"Be quiet, boys," said Texas ; "we will have some rare 
sport tonight. That big cottonwood around the bend is 
a regular turkey roost." 

As if with one impulse each individual in camp ap- 
proached a knoll between the camp and the high ground, 
where a view could be obtained of the little valley along 
the stream. A few scraggy mesquites furnished an ex- 
cellent screen for observation. From this vantage point 
the campers were able to see the approach to the cotton- 
wood roost. 

The call of the gobblers leading the flock into the val- 
ley and the answers of the hen turkeys became more and 
more distinct as they approached the edge of the shrub- 
bery along the bank. Then came the bronze birds, first 
the leaders, and paused to reconnoiter before venturing 
into the opening near the tree. Then came the flock, until 
at least 500 flew up to the roost in the stately cottonwood. 

The utmost caution was necessary on the part of Texas 
and his companions to prevent flushing the turkeys be- 
fore night set in. 

The remainder of the preparations were carried on 
quietly, and by the time the moon arose the men were 
ready to approach the roost and begin the slaughter of 
the birds. 

And it was indeed rare exciting sport, though a cruel 
waste of game. 

When all were ready and each armed with a double- 
barrel shotgun and plenty of ammunition, they advanced 
under the shadow of the tree on the opposite side from 
the moon. This brought the turkeys out in bold relief 
against the moonlit sky, an easy mark to shoot. 

By mutual agreement, each selected a bird and all fired 
at once. 

Several large, plump birds were heard to fall, and 



though greatly disturbed, the larger number of the flock 
remained on the roost, and the remainder flew in a circle 
and settled on near-by trees. The hunters kept up the 
bombardment until they became tired of the sport, and 
in the morning picked up a dozen dead birds without 
the trouble of hunting up the wounded. During the next 
three days the choice parts of the turkeys were cooked 
and the remainder thrown away. 

Every day the buffalo increased in numbers, and small 
herds could be seen making their way to the watering 
holes, but the hunting ground proper was nearer the 
Plains. Consequently, Texas and his companions did 
not loiter by the way, but pushed on to where the large 
outfits were camped on the Deep creek of the Colorado 

The fifth day out from Albany they drove up in front 
of Conrad & Rath's branch store, a low, rambling build- 
ing constructed of poles and buffalo hides, where only 
such supplies were kept as was necessary to meet the de- 
mands of the hunters for their immediate wants. 

It was the noon hour and Henry Jacobs was stand- 
ing in the door, parleying with a drunken hunter who 
had imbibed too much Hostetter's bitters, and was reck- 
lessly handling a buffalo gun, one of those murderous 
weapons that shoot a four-inch cartridge, and will do 
execution a mile distant. When Texas and his com- 
panions drove up, the muzzle was pointed in their direc- 
tion and the gun discharged. The bullet striking the 
ground between the horses, ricochetted, making a loud 
buzzing noise that came near making the animals run 

This drunken man, with his gun and plenty of cart- 
ridges, was a dangerous combination, and kept every one 
guessing in which direction the gun would be discharge^ 


Finally he drifted to a shanty a mile down the trail, much 
to the relief of every one around the supply store. 

This being a central point on the buffalo range, the 
four young men and Uncle Joe concluded to camp and 
make excursions to the different outfits within easy dis- 

John Causey ran the largest outfit on the range, and 
was camped about five miles down the stream in a large 
valley covered with a thick growth of mesquite grass, 
that furnished an excellent pasture for the buffalo. 

Accepting Jacob's invitation to remain until morning, 
the wagon was drawn up near the store and the horses 
hoppled out. 

The remainder of the day and the night following was 
given over to rest and becoming acquainted with the few 
hunters that came in during the evening after some 
necessary articles. 

Jacobs and his companion, Josh Cook, prepared a 
stew of fresh buffalo meat and insisted on Texas' outfit 
eating supper with them. 

It was about dusk when the host and his guests sat 
down to a rough pine table in the rear of the store, with 
cracker boxes for seats. 

The camp kettle, filled with a hot stew of buffalo meat, 
potatoes and onions, was lifted from the fire of mesquite 
coals in the opening outside and deposited in the middle 
of the table. Bread made of sour dough, soda and tal- 
low, was dumped from an oven and a large coffee pot 
filled with the amber liquid was brought in. Tin cups, tin 
plates and knives and forks completed the preparations, 
when Jacobs extended the invitation ''to step up gents 
and get your chuck." 

The rear end of the store where this mess table was 
located furnished an excellent view of the approach 


along the trail from the west, as the opening was un- 
usually large. The conversation was desultory, of a 
general nature and covering a wide range. 

Jacobs, who was a wit and possessed a fund of good 
humor, was telling some amusing incidents during his 
experience as a merchant on the buffalo range. 


Among the strange characters that he had come in con- 
tact with, one especially made a lasting impression. 
Jacobs said that at first he thought that he was a little 
batty in his upper story, but later found out that he only 
became excited on the subjects of Indians and rattle- 
snakes. "He has been coming here regularly every two 
weeks since Conrad & Rath opened up this branch store. 
He comes and goes as silently as an Indian. No one 
seems to know anything about him or where he is locat- 
ed. So far as I know, he has no friends or acquain- 

"When least expected he will drop into a camp and 
accept an invitation to 'chuck,' and sometimes roll up in 
his blankets and pass the night. But he studiously 
avoids talking about his past, and I suspect that he has 
had some great sorrow, that he carries around and nurses 
all the time. He will remain for an hour at a time gaz- 
ing into vacancy, never uttering a word. It is only when 
some one mentions Indians that he raises his head with 
a jerk and his eyes flash fire. 

"I tell you, boys, that man has a history worth know- 
ing if you could get him to talk. By the way, isn't this 
Wednesday? Sure it is, and the day for one of 'Smoky's' 
visits. That's the name he always uses when introducing 
himself. He's a little late to-day, but I believe I see an 
object coming down the trail and, I'll bet it is 'Smoky.' 


"Now, boys, we must use all our tact and best judg- 
ment to try to induce him to talk, for I am certain that 
he can furnish us a hair-raising story. But we must 
handle him as carefully as a basket of eggs, or he will 
shut up like an oyster. Have you any snake-bite medi- 
cine ? If you have, maybe we can loosen his tongue with 
a drink." 

Uncle Joe went out to the wagon and returned with a 
gallon jug and set it on the dirt floor by Jacobs. 

That indescribable shadow of the twilight hour was 
combating the fading light of the king of day when 
"Smoky" rode up to the opening and dismounted. 

To all appearances he was like the "wandering Jew," 
and had lived through the ages. 

Without turning his head or noticing those seated at 
the table, he leisurely unsaddled his tired broncho and 
hoppled the animal, then walked slowly up to the open- 
ing, nodded by way of salutation and said: 

"My name is 'Smoky,' gents !" 

Jacobs introduced each separately, then extended a 
cordial invitation to "Smoky" to partake of the evening 

An extra tin plate, cup and knife and fork were laid on 
the table, and "Smoky" sat down without waiting for a 
second invitation. 

Jacobs lifted the jug from the floor and placed it with 
an extra cup in front of "Smoky," with the invitation to 
help himself. 

He eyed the jug a moment, pulled the cork, smelled 
the contents -and poured out a generous portion, and 
sipped the liquid in the slow way that marked all his 

As if through mutual understanding, the others seated 
around the table entered into a general conversation with- 


out noticing his actions, allowing him ample time to sat- 
isfy his appetite. 

In the meantime, Kentuck sized "Smoky" up, taking 
a mental inventory of the man. 

As Kentuck looked on his grimed, weather-stained 
face and noted the sharp, cadaverous features, and those 
black, piercing eyes masked beneath overhanging, bushy 
brows, he became convinced that "Smoky" possessed in- 
domitable courage. Especially did his compressed lips 
and square chin denote that he could be relied on under 
the most trying emergency. He was certainly a wild, 
grotesque figure, even on the frontier of Texas. His 
dark brown hair was long and unkempt, falling in many 
a tangle upon his shoulders, and gave almost a weird 
appearance to his face, overshadowed by a Mexican som- 
brero. His lean, sinewy figure was bent either from 
habit or age, and, when walking, he had a peculiar sham- 
bling, sliding-forward gait, noiseless and catlike, 
resembling a wild animal stalking its prey. But 
it was his costume that would have turned a burlesque 
actor green with envy. A woolen shirt once blue, though 
not gaudy, was almost as variegated as Jacob's coat; 
overalls, slick and shiny with the grease of many an open- 
air dinner, alike impervious to dirt and weather, were 
thrust into the legs of a pair of cavalry boots that once 
did service for one of Uncle Sam's troopers, but now 
with holes in the uppers and minus their heels, presented 
a comical sight. 

"Smoky" was "armed to the teeth." Around his waist 
was a belt with fifty rounds of cartridges, half for a 
Colt's revolver and half for a Winchester rifle. 

Swinging from his belt was a Colt's "45" and a long 
hunting knife, and in a scabbard attached to his saddle 
was a long-barreled Winchester. These articles, to- 


gether with his pony, roll of blankets, coffee pot and fry- 
ing pan, so far as known, constituted all of his earthly 

And his name was "Smoky." "Smoky" — yes, but 
"Smoky" who? 

"Smoky" nothing; only "Smoky," that's all. 

He might have dropped from the horn of the new 
moon that swung in crescent shape low down over the 
western horizon, were such a thing possible, so far as 
there being any proof to the contrary, or, more probably, 
have come up through the underlying strata from the 
regions below, so far as Kentuck knew. 

He was forbidding looking, all right, but must be ex- 
tended a hearty frontier welcome, for it was one of the 
unwritten laws that strangers must be entertained. 

So preoccupied were the young men in the general 
conversation around the table, and the jolly good time 
they were having, they seemed to have forgotten 
"Smoky's" presence. And it was only when he ceased 
paying his respects to the buffalo stew, and was wiping 
his knife upon his overalls, that they were startled with 
the remark: 

"There is a small bunch of Indians broke loose from 
the reservation, and are trying to make trouble for the 
hunters near Blanco canyon." 

"Indians on the warpath ! What? Where? Indians? 
Did you say Indians, 'Smoky'?" 

"That's what I said, gents! They attacked Poe and 
Jacob's camp last Saturday, but a few shots from the 
buffalo gun made them turn tail." 

"What tribe, and where are they now, 'Smoky'?" 

"Only about a dozen Comanche bucks from the reser- 
vation at Fort Sill. A squad of the 7th Cavalry is on 
their trail, and they are headed for the Horseshoe Bend 
on the Upper Pecos." 


"And you don't think they will come this way, 
'Smoky' ?" 

"No, the soldiers will cut them off from the open coun- 
try, and they will be forced to stay in the brakes or go 
back to the reservation." 

"Well, pour out another drink, 'Smoky/ and pass the 
jug," said Jacobs. 

"All right, gents," and suiting his action to the word, 
"Smoky" raised the jug and poured a good stiff drink 
into his cup. 

The jug went the rounds and each drank a small por- 
tion of the contents. It soon became evident from his 
conversation that "Smoky" had been raised a gentleman, 
and was a man of culture and education. 

Toasts were drunk, Jacobs rendered a song and Texas 
told an interesting story. 

In the meantime the exhilarating effects of the liquor 
awakened "Smoky," and he began to take a live interest 
in the jollification, even going so far as to utter exclama- 
tions of approval. 

Finally, Jacobs addressed him and said, " 'Smoky', you 
must have had some exciting experiences with the In- 
dians, and we would enjoy very much to hear you relate 
some of them." 

He bowed his head and remained silent so long that 
those around the table feared that he had ignored the 
request. But when he did look up it became evident that 
he had decided to respond. 

"Well, gents, you have been sociable and treated me 
white, instead of merely tolerating my presence because 
you wouldn't dare break the rule of hospitality. Yes, 
it may do me good to relate some of my experiences 
instead of brooding over the past. 

"I don't know whether either of you ever heard of 


Jeff Turner, known all over South and Southwest Texas 
as 'the Indian hater'? Well, he was a jim-dandy, all 
right, and killed and scalped more Indians than any 
hunter on the border. The whites said he was crazy ; 
the Indians said he was a 'black devil'. Turner used to 
join every raid after the redskins, and it was said that 
he had thirty-five scalps hanging up in his cabin on the 
Cibillo. He was in several expeditions commanded by 
Big Foot Wallace. Turner was never quiet, and if there 
were no expeditions on foot, would camp on the Indian's 
trail by himself. 

"I think it was in October, 1864, when the least pro- 
tection was given to the settlers on the frontier, by 
reason of the Confederacy calling all the troops to the 
front for the final stand against the advancing army of 
the North, that I joined a caravan of six families from 
Harris county on their way to San Saba, being at that 
time as far west as any man dared risk the safety of his 
wife and children. 

"I'm an old bachelor, never had any relatives in the 
State that I ever heard of. Consequently, have been 
drifting from 'post to pillar,' as the old saying goes, 
without any definite object in view, but always search- 
ing for adventure. I guess I'm a frontier tramp, all 
right, for I'm continually roaming over the range. 

"Well, to return to the San Saba trip. We were about 
ten days on the trail. I did not become very well acquaint- 
ed with the outfit, notwithstanding they treated me kind- 
ly, I was too backward to make much progress with the 
women folk. It is true, old Bill Gillipsie's big fat gal, 
Sue, had a heap to do with it. She took a malicious de- 
light in teasing me when I lounged around camp. Jess 
Shumake's daughter, Fan, was not quite so bad, but she 
made a good second to Sue's lead. 


"Joe Larkins, George Muse, Drake Wesley and Mike 
Lewis had not been married long and had no kids large 
enough to make it uncomfortable for me, or I expect I 
would have cut loose from the gang before we were three 
days out. 

"It was the last day of our journey, and we were pass- 
ing through the cedar brakes when we were joined by a 
tall, awkward stranger, riding a bay pony. 

"After a customary 'Hello/ he asked where the outfit 
was going. 

"Being informed that they intended to stop at San 
Saba town, he remarked that it was a sensible idea, for 
the country was full of bad Indians west of there. 

"Riding up along with me, he said, 'stranger, my name 
is Jeff Turner; what might your name be?' 

"They call me 'Smoky,' I replied. 

" 'Well, stranger, that's as good as any other name, I 
reckon. Where be you goin' to?' 

" 'Going west on the range ; not particular where I 

" 'Got any plans after you shake this outfit at San 

" 'I never have any plans, Turner ; I just trust to luck/ 

" 'Well, 'Smoky,' luck is a mighty uncertain jade, liable 
to throw you at the most critical moment, but that's a 
matter of individual opinion. Now, after a day's rest, 
I'll strike the trail again.' 

" 'Is there any particular place out West that you are 
bound for, Turner?' 

" 'Yes, I'm going to join Johnson's outfit and help 
drive a bunch of cattle to the range near Fort Phantom 
hill, on the Clear Fork, of the Brazos/ 

" 'Are you a cowboy, Turner ?' 

" 'Noap, I'm no cow puncher/ 


" 'Well, if I'm not too inquisitive, what's your busi- 
ness ?' 

" 'Killing Indians.' 

" 'Killing Indians ? Say, Turner, you are not in 
earnest, I hope? Why man, that's dangerous business.' 

" 'Not when you understand it, 'Smoky'/ 

" 'But, say, Turner, there cannot be any profit in kill- 
ing Indians?' 

" 'No, if you only count money profit, but when you 
count revenge — do you hear, 'Smoky'? — revenge — it is 
worth all the time and money in this world. Yes, there 
is a little woman and two babies lying under the trees 
down on the banks of the Cibillo, whose blood cries for 

" 'For six years I have been on their trail, picking 
them off one by one until thirty-five of their scalps hang 
in the old cabin where they murdered my wife and chil- 
dren. Now that black-hearted tribe of Comanches have 
gone west where there are plenty of buffalo, and I'm 
going to follow them. Yes, I'll follow them to hell, 
'Smoky.' " 

"Of course, gents. I had nothing more to say, and we 
rode along in silence for a while. 

"When we came in sight of the little village of San 
Saba, Turner seemed to awaken from the stupor of mem- 
ory and take an interest in our surroundings. 

" 'Well, 'Smoky,' we are now in sight of the town, the 
ranch is off two miles east, and there is no reason why 
I should go to town to-day, so adios, 'Smoky'; if you 
want to go West, come out and join the outfit.' He 
turned his horse's head to the right and was soon lost to 

"Our wagon train was not long on the way to the 
town, and by noon were comfortably settled in a wagon 


"After this I did not see much of my companions of 
the journey and the next day concluded to ride out to 
the ranch and see Turner. 

"Johnson's ranch was a well appointed cattle ranch 
headquarters, with all the necessary pens, corrals, sheds, 
bunk houses and mess rooms. The main ranch house, 
where Johnson's family resided, was about 500 yards 
from the cowboys' bunk house. This residence was a 
low rambling adobe, one story high with a long porch 
the full length of the house. Mode Johnson's family con- 
sisted of his wife, two daughters and his brother Dick. 
Now, Dick was to be the trail boss on the drive to the 
range west of Fort Phantom hill. So when I arrived 
at the bunk house and found Turner, he went with me 
to the horse corral, where Dick Johnson was inspecting 
a bunch of saddle ponies. After the customary 'howdy,' 
I tackled him for a job. Having had but little experience 
with range cattle, he -employed me to help herd the ponies 
and assist the cook. 

"It is not necessary to go into details of the next week, 
devoted to the gathering of 1,000 head of cattle and the 
start Sunday morning for the west; you are familiar 
with such scenes. 

"It was a two weeks' long, dusty drive up the trail, 
loose herding at night and long or short drives during 
the day, according to the distance between water holes. 
There being plenty of deer, antelope and turkeys along 
the route, we had a regular feast every meal. Nothing 
startling happened until we pulled out from Fort Grif- 
fin, where the boss paid several of the boys out of limbo 
for tanking up and using their firearms too freely. 

"From Griffin we followed almost a northwest course 
for the gap at Leadbetter's Salt Works. From rumors at 
Griffin and a few signs that Turner picked up at the first 


water hole the day following - , we became convinced that 
a roving band of Indians were on the war path. 

Consequently, we moved with great caution, and put 
out extra guards at night. At the Salt Works we were 
told that a band of Comanches with a bunch of stolen 
horses passed through the night before, and exchanged a 
few shots with Leadbetter's outfit. This caused Dick 
Johnson to hold a consultation with all his men, and after 
wasting considerable chin music, it was decided to send 
Turner and me ahead as scouts, to look out for the red- 
skins, and give the alarm in time to prepare for an attack. 

"Nothing could have pleased Turner better, though I'll 
admit that I did not feel so comfortable about it. In 
fact, if I had been consulted the probabilities are that I 
would have preferred to remain with the herd. But I 
well knew that it would not do to show the white 

"We dropped the herd coming up the Salt Creek valley 
toward the gap in the mountain leading to the open 

"Turner always carried a field glass, and when we 
emerged from the pass where the trail crossed the 
prairie, he leveled it on the open landscape. 

"It was a twenty-six miles' view to where the white 
chimneys of the Fort Phantom Hill like bright specks 
reflected the sunlight on the banks of the Clear Fork of 
the Brazos river. The fringe of trees, like a dark green 
thread in the distance, marked the course of the stream 
from the northwest to the southeast, as it semicircled 
toward Fort Griffin. Here and there, between our point 
of view and where the trail crossed the Clear Fork at 
Phantom Hill, were several smaller streams, also marked 
by threads of green. Turner occupied at least ten min- 
utes looking through his glass, apparently covering every 


mile of territory before he took it from his eyes. Then 
he turned and looked at me for a minute as if in deep 
thought, then said: 'Smoky,' there don't seem to be 
much in sight, except two objects; one bothers me and 
the other troubles me. On the trail between the crossing 
of the Clear Fork and the first stream this side is a cov- 
ered wagon and some loose ponies driven behind. Evi- 
dently some fool and his family going West. Off to the 
right, down the Clear Fork, about twelve miles, if I'm 
not mistaken, is that murderous band of Comanches. The 
natural lay of the ground shields the wagon from the 
Indians, and neither can see the other, but by camping 
time they will be so close together that the Indians will 
discover the wagon, then that fool and his family might 
as well say, good-by, vain world. Now, it looks blamed 
sneaking measly for you and me, 'Smoky,' to let that 
fool cuss run into the trap without warning him, especial- 
ly if there are any women and children along. Now, John- 
son's outfit is too far behind to be in any danger, so I'm 
going to save the dodblamed fool, if I can manage to ride 
fast enough and keep out of sight of the Indians. Of 
course, 'Smoky,' you don't have to go with me ; you can 
return to the outfit and tell them where I have gone. 
There may be a scrimmage before I come back, and there 
is no use of you being mixed up in it.' 

" 'Now, Turner,' I said, 'if you think I'm going to let 
you go on without me you are badly mistaken. It is 
true I'm not very anxious to mix up with a lot of red- 
skins, but I will not desert a friend in time of danger; 
it's against my principles.' 

" 'I always thought you had the right stuff in you, 
'Smoky,' that's the reason that I invited you to join the 
outfit at San Saba. Well, come along/Smoky,' we haven't 
time to parley if we intend to save that fool and his 


" 'What makes you call him a fool, Turner ?' 

" 'Because nobody but a fool 'tenderfoot' would venture 
out into an Indian country with a covered wagon.' 

"Spurring up our ponies, we were soon riding at a 
lively gait over the trail. 

"About ten miles from the Salt Works the trail 
crossed Chimney creek, a stream named after a lone 
chimney on the bank where a ranch house had been 
burned by the Indians. Five miles farther we crossed 
Spring creek, named after the clear spring water that 
bubbled up from the bed of the stream. 

"We had now arrived in the vicinity of the Indians, 
and it was necessary to use the greatest caution to pre- 
vent being seen. The only chance of warning the man 
with the covered wagon, was to locate them, and then 
circle around in front of the Indians. 

"We were giving our bronchos water under the bluff 
at a deep water hole, and Turner had just handed me a 
piece of jerked buffalo, when we heard the sound of an- 
imals' feet just over the divide on the hardpan ; thought 
it might be cattle coming for water, but Turner dis- 
mounted and crawled up through the broom-weeds to 
the top of the bluff to see. 

"In two minutes he came rolling down and hastily 
mounted and said, ' "Smoky," if you ever did any fast 
riding in your life, now is the time. Those damned Co- 
manches are not a half mile away, and we have to get 
out of sight around that bend if we want to keep our 

"There is no doubt about our riding as fast as those 
ponies could go under the persuasion of both quirt and 
spur. Instead of following the trail, we ran across be- 
tween the creek and the big bend, and quirted our po- 
nies over the mesa and over the top of the divide on this 


side of Elm creek, and dropped out of sight down the 
slope just in time to escape being seen by their advance 
scouts sent ahead to select a camping place. Being safe 
for the time being, we dismounted to give our ponies 
wind, and Turner crawled back to where he could see 
the Indians. He returned in a few minutes and said: 
' "Smoky," I saw the whole outfit file down into the val- 
ley and they have about forty stolen ponies, and a sick or 
wounded red on a drag-litter. I expect that they had a 
scrimmage somewhere up the country. Now straddle 
your pony and we will make for the ford on the Clear 
Fork before the red devils come in sight.' We quirted 
ahead and crossed just above the mouth of Elm, and 
from the liveoak thicket at the top of the hill on this 
side saw them go into camp. 

"We then hurried on to find the covered wagon that 
Turner saw from the high ground through his field glass. 
As we emerged from the live oaks and followed the trail 
along the river, we came to the stranger's camp about 
two miles from the fort. It was as wild and untamed a 
place as rugged nature could have been expected to fur- 
nish for a resting-place over night. Within twenty feet 
of the camp the bank of the river dropped to the clear 
blue water, mirroring the ever-changing colors of the 
twilight sky. The low bank on the other side was hid- 
den beneath a thicket of wild plum bushes, so dense that 
deer and wild turkeys could approach and drink without 
being seen from the trail skirting the shin oaks above. 
This thicket extended for one-half mile east of the foot 
of a sloping hill, surmounted by the ghostlike chimneys 
of the old abandoned fort where once Generals Lee, 
Johnson and Grant were stationed when young lieutenants 
before the war. Off to the southeast the open prairie 
extended far away, gradually melting into the invisible 


blue, where, on clear days, there appeared a beautiful 
mirage, representing a forest-crowned hill, with a lake 
as its base line, giving to the fort its phantom name. 

"Up and down, the river's course was marked by tall 
cottonwood and low-spreading elms, with here and there 
a glimpse of steep bluffs. 

"In time of the spring rains these bluffs dam up the 
drift-laden water, and it overflows the low banks and 
piles the debris among the mesquite trees, there to re- 
main high and dry, a warning to man not to build his 
habitation in the path of the flood tide. 

"Running north by west, in an irregular parallel with 
the river's course, was a dense growth of shin oak vary- 
ing from one to three miles in width. This Liliputian 
forest abounded with all kinds of wild animals and tur- 
keys and also furnished excellent concealment for rene- 
gade white men and bands of hostile Indians. 

"The place where we found the covered wagon, the 
shin oak came within one-fourth mile of the river, a de- 
lightful camping ground, but a dangerous place to be at- 
tacked by the Indians. 

"As we rode up to the camp, Turner remarked : 'Of all 
the blamed idiots that I ever heard of since I built my 
cabin on the banks of Cibillo, that fool certainly takes 
the bear grease.' 

"In the gathering twilight we could see a man hoppling 
out a pair of horses and a woman pottering around the 
chuck box, while three little children were playing on the 

"As we pulled up our horses near the wagon, the 
woman had started a blaze under some dry mesquite 
limbs, preparatory to cooking supper. 

" 'Hello !' said Turner, by way of attracting their at- 
tention and announcing our arrival. 


'The woman shaded her eyes with her hand and came 
forward to greet us. 

" 'Hello, strangers/ she replied ; 'where ye be from ?' 

" 'From over the divide, down the overland trail,' said 
Turner. 'What's your name, and where are you from?' 

" 'Our name is Burton, and we live down near Mc- 
Kinney,' replied the woman. 

" 'Well, what in the world are you doing out here?' 

" 'Oh, paw was a little crowded for room down there 
and came out to locate a ranch.' 

"By this time the man had returned to the wagon with 
an armful of wood, and throwing it down near the fire 
came up and invited us to dismount and camp with them. 

" 'Well, generally speaking, we would be glad to ac- 
cept your invitation, but this evening we are in a little 
bit of a hurry to move on/ said Turner, 'and, if you have 
any regard for the safety of your family you will hustle 
those traps back into the wagon and pull out of here.' 

"'Why, what do you mean, stranger?' asked Burton. 

" T mean/ replied Turner, 'that there is about ioo Co- 
manche Indians on the war path, and they are camped on 
Elm creek, not more than two miles from here.' 

" 'Goodness, gracious, paw/ shouted Mrs. Burton, 'get 
the horses quick — here, Mary Ann, throw those things 
into the wagon while I help the children to climb in — 
hurry up, Jake, with the horses.' 

"Turner and I dismounted and helped Burton harness 
his horses and hitch them to the wagon. 

" 'Say, Burton, you blooming idiot, what did you bring 
your family out into this Indian country for?' 

" 'Why, that real estate agent that sold me a certificate 
told me the Indians were all on the reservation, and that 
it was perfectly safe to bring my family. And ma she 
wanted to come so bad I just concluded to bring them 


along. And now, gents, I'll admit that this Indian busi- 
ness is a little out of my line, and I'm willing to do just 
what you suggest.' 

" 'Well,' said Turner, T have been over this trail once 
before, and I think I know where an old trail enters the 
shinnery back of that knoll over there. All of you hustle 
into that wagon in a hurry and follow me. 'Smoky,' 
throw sand over that fire, it can be seen a long way, and 
I expect the red devils have already located it. Every- 
- body ready ? All right, come on.' 

"By this time darkness set in and those in the wagon 
could only see Turner dimly as he led the way. 

" 'Swing into the big trail here,' he said, 'and we will 
follow it to the slope of the knoll, where the hard-pan 
gravel will leave no signs, over to the edge of the shin- 
nery; then we will double back to the rocky knoll and 
strike the old trail, and if the reds are not particularly 
hunting for signs, we may escape without having to 
stand them off with our guns.' 

" 'Why don't you keep to the Big Trail, Turner, until 
we strike the open country?' asked Burton. 

" 'Say, you are a 'tenderfoot' all right. Don't you 
know that the Comanches are prairie Indians and do all 
their devilment and fighting in the open ? They don't like 
to tackle anything under cover. No sir, we are going into 
the brush. There used to be a water hole on the old 
trail, about half way through the shinnery, and we will 
go there before making camp, provided the Indians don't 
ambush us.' 

"By this time we arrived at the point where we intend- 
ed to enter the old trail. There was a flash in the dark- 
ness, followed by the report of a rifle, and a bullet 
whistled uncomfortably near my head. 

"All was in confusion in a moment, and but for the 


presence of mind and quick-spoken words of Turner, 
the panic might have proved disastrous, for all were 
taken by surprise. 

"Burton, whip that team into a run and follow the old 
trail. 'Smoky/ bring your shooting-irons here, and help 
me hold off these red devils until Burton escapes — we 
are up against a tough proposition, I'm afraid/ 

"Evidently the shot was fired more as a signal than 
with any hope of hitting one of us, for with the exception 
of the noise made by the retreating wagon along the trail, 
the silence from the direction of where the shot was fired 
was almost painful. 

" 'I don't like this silence/ whispered Turner. 'The 
red devils are too quiet to suit my idea of safety. Keep 
a grip on your gun, 'Smoky/ while I lie down and try to 
see and hear what they are up to/ Suiting his action 
to his words, Turner dropped quietly to the ground, only 
to spring up the next moment and excitedly whisper, 
'Smoky/ the jig is up ; we are surrounded. They are 
closing in on all sides — crawling on the ground like snakes 
— only one chance — make a rush for the old trail — no 
time to lose — every one of the bloodthirsty cusses will 
shoot to kill — don't stop to return their fire — if you ever 
did any first-class running against big odds, do it now — 
if a red pops his head up in your path, punch your gun 
against him and pull the trigger — we will fight our way 
out — are you ready?' 

" 'Yes/ I replied. 

" 'Well, here goes,' and Turner made a dash for the 
trail, closely followed by me. 

"Gents, that was the signal for the darnedest hair-rais- 
ing, blood-curdling yells you can imagine, followed by a 
storm of arrows mixed with reports of guns, and they 
began to close in, determined to kill or capture us. I 


was close to Turner's heels as he ran, rifle in one hand 
and knife in the other. Two powerful Indian braves 
arose in our path, ready to brain us with their toma- 
hawks. Turner leaned forward until his head was below 
the line of his hips and shouted to me to shoot. I fired 
and one Indian fell, and at the same time Turner dodged 
the keen edge of the other's tomahawk, and, raising his 
knife on a line with the Indian's breast, sprang from 
the ground like a mountain lion and fell upon his foe 
with an impetus that forced the Indian to his knees, and 
before he could recover Turner drove the knife into a 
vital spot and sprang to one side just in time to save us 
from falling into a death trap. Four more Indians were 
in the trail blocking the way, and all around us was a 
din of shrieks and yells, enough to still the stoutest heart. 
Before either of us could grasp the situation, Turner 
shouted to follow him, and jumped into the thicket of 
wild plum bushes on the side of a ravine. I followed and 
we went sliding, tumbling, falling down the steep bank 
before the Indians discovered our escape. Down, down, 
there seemed to be no bottom, and all the time the loose 
stones and earth falling upon us like hail, until we land- 
ed bruised and bleeding at the bottom. As we lay like 
bundles of rags, stunned and half conscious, the breath 
knocked out of us, we could see far above us a ribbon of 
blue sky that marked the top of the ravine, and could 
hear the distant yells of the Comanches, like wild animals 
deprived of their prey. What a lightning change in the 
situation of a few moments before ! 

" 'Say, Turner, I didn't know that the bottom had fal- 
len out when I followed you into that plum thicket, but 
I'm sure glad to give the reds the slip, even if we did 
travel over the roughest road in America,' I remarked. 

M 'Yes, it was slip, slide, roll, tumble and a hard jolt 


at the bottom, and I don't mind acknowledging the rough- 
est experience I ever had with the Indians since they 
murdered my wife and little ones.' 

" 'Where are we at this moment, how did we come 
here, and what has happened in the regions above?' I re- 
marked, feeling a bump on my forehead. 

" 'Well, 'Smoky,' Turner replied, 'we took a leap in the 
dark, and when we landed in space without wings we fell 
down instead of going up, and right now are up against a 
tough proposition. We have escaped the red devils to- 
night, but, like rats in a trap, may meet the cat in the 
morning. In the meantime, we are cut off from our 
horses with nothing to eat, and probably nothing to 
drink. I wonder what become of that fool Burton? I 
don't think the Indians followed him up, and if he's got 
sense enough to remain quiet he may escape. Well, 
"Smoky," if you have not broken your bones in the fall 
we will get up and try and do something.' 

" 'I'm all right, Turner.' 

" 'So am I, too. Now where are our guns?' 

" 'I held onto mine in the tumble, but lost my knife 
and half of the cartridges. Where is your gun?' 

" 'Well, while you are hunting your gun, Turner, I'll 
creep down toward the mouth of the ravine and see if 
there are any Indians there.' Making as little noise as 
possible I made my way to where I could see the mouth 
of the ravine. I did not have long to wait when I saw 
the moving figures guarding the ravine. During the time 
I was absent, Turner found his gun, badly battered but 
still good for service. 

" 'Just as I supposed,' remarked Turner, when I in- 
formed him of the Indians at the mouth of the ravine. 
'We must go up the other way if we hope to get out of 
this devil's trap/ 


"Nothing could be seen ahead in the darkness, between 
the walls of our natural prison, and we were compelled 
to feel our way along the bed of the ravine, often crawl- 
ing over rough, jagged rocks that barred our way, and 
at other points became entangled with catclaw bushes 
growing along the sides. All sounds from above had 
ceased, and save the lonely hoo-hoo of the prairie dog, 
owl and the sharp yelping of a pack of coyotes, the only 
sound was our exertions in making our way up the ra- 
vine. We had gone perhaps 200 yards when Turner, 
-who was in advance, exclaimed, 'Well, I'll be blowed if 
this isn't a jim-dandy fix!' 

" 'What have you struck now, Turner ?' 

" 'Butted up against a solid wall, and unless there is 
an opening above my head, we are done for, sure.' 

"In a moment I was at his side and we began a close 
examination. Slowly we passed our hands over the solid 
wall, but failed to find either an opening or means to 

" There may be an opening above our heads,' said 
Turner. 'We are in a pocket of some kind, and if I 
dared light a match we might discover some way out, 
but the red devils would be sure to see us and shoot or 
tumble rocks down upon us. Now, 'Smoky/ brace your- 
self against the rock and I'll climb on your shoulders, and 
maybe I can find something.' 

"I furnished the necessary shoulders and he climbed 
up in a jiffy, and began examining the rock above. 

" 'Holy smoke, here is a round hole as big as a barrel, 
over to the left, just out of reach of a man down there. 
Keep still, 'Smoky/ and I'll crawl into it, then pull you 
up. Now, pass up the guns first, so I can push them back 
out of the way, then hold up your hands and I'll yank 
you up.' 


"The guns were handed up as Turner requested, and 
I extended my hands and he grasped my wrists. 'Now 
climb with your feet while I yank,' he advised. 

"After a severe strain on his muscles, with all the aid 
I could give him, I was finally landed in the mouth of 
the hole. We were now in what seemed to be a rough 
passage through the solid rock, just large enough to 
admit our bodies crawling on our hands and knees, single 

Silently we began this strange journey, each pushing 
his gun ahead. The darkness was intense, and seemed to 
press heavily upon us like an unseen hand. At a short 
distance, perhaps eight or ten feet from the entrance, the 
passage opened into a low cavern, very little higher than 
the passage, but spacious in width. 

" 'Range up alongside of me, "Smoky." I think we 
have entered an underground prairie, and we want to 
keep in touch with each other. We may run onto some- 
thing in this queer place and need our combined 

"Ten minutes more, crawling through a sea of dark- 
ness over a damp, slimy floor, keyed up to the highest 
sense of uncertainty, and alert to the slightest movement 
or sound ; and yet, not prepared to hear that awful, dead- 
ly warning of death. 

" 'Rattlers ! By the great Saint Patrick, rattlers, 
'Smoky/ rattlers !' 

" 'Snakes ! Rattlesnakes !' I replied. 'That's the dead- 
liest foe a man ever tackled in the dark.' 

" 'Yes, this must be the devil's reception room, and if 
v/e don't make back tracks we may become the devil's 
guests for all eternity,' said Turner. 

" 'Strike a light, Turner, so that we can locate the dia- 
mond-backs. I don't care to run into a nest of them.' 


" 'All right ; though that is a dangerous experiment, it 
is better than fooling around in the dark.' 

"He lighted a Mexican wax-match, that burns like a 
taper. As soon as the light penetrated the inky dark- 
ness a terrible sight met our eyes. Not more than ten 
feet away was a wriggling mass of writhing, twisting, 
hissing rattlesnakes. The contortions of their repulsive 
bodies, the lightning movements of their forked tongues, 
and that venomous green light of their eyes, so deadly 
fascinating, was enough to congeal the blood and strike 
fear to the stoutest heart. As we looked, the mass began 
to untangle itself, and large rattlers wriggled along as if 
intent on cutting off all chances of escape. For once 
Turner lost his presence of mind, and was struck dumb 
by the awful conditions that surrounded him. He struck 
another match, but it only made the situation more ap- 
palling, for there were numerous passages opening into 
the cavern, and they all looked alike. In the confusion 
following the deadly warning of the snakes, we had com- 
pletely lost our bearings, and were as helpless as chil- 
dren. It paralyzed our tongues and numbed all of our 
faculties, and the blood flowed back to our hearts with an 
icy chill that stopped circulation. Horror of horrors! 
Could Dante's Inferno hold terrors equal to this deadly 
situation? The cold, bare cave, too low to admit of any 
position except upon hands and knees or sitting upon the 
rock floor. Egyptian darkness followed the last flicker- 
ing spark of the match, and to be helpless victims at the 
mercy of venomous reptiles that at any moment might 
strike their poisonous fangs into our quivering flesh was 
almost too much for weak human nature without unhing- 
ing the mind. Unconsciously we moved each toward the 
other until we leaned together as if for mutual support. 
How long we remained in this position I have no means 


of telling. It might have been hours, while the cold per- 
spiration formed beads on our foreheads. But at last 
the chilly atmosphere and our cramped position began to 
tell, and, though the slightest movement would expose us 
to the extreme danger of being bitten by the snakes, our 
benumbed limbs must be straightened to ease the pain 
that gripped and cramped them. Neither spoke, for 
speech was frozen at its fountain head, and silence like 
the hush of death rilled the cavern. The snakes were 
either coiled or quietly crawling over the slimy floor. 

"Turner made a slight movement, followed immedi- 
ately by his hoarse, unnatural voice as he excitedly 
exclaimed, 'Smoky/ I have received my death warrant; 
no earthly power can save me; don't interrupt me; 
your life hangs by a thread so slender that the least 
movement will break it and send you over the Big 
Divide into the other world. Dig a hole in the morning 
and plant me where the buzzards and coyotes cannot 
pick my bones. I have no message to send to any human 
being. Those who cared the least bit about me are dead, 
and the living who once knew me have forgotten my ex- 
istence. For ten years I have lived in the wilds of Texas, 
a law unto myself. Back in the mountains of old Ken- 
tucky there may be a few old men and women who will 
remember a young fool who moved with his wife and 
children to the unknown land of Texas, but it would 
serve no purpose to remind them of it. I have faced 
death a thousand times, and now that "the White Horse 
and His Pale Rider" are coming, I will not shrink from 
the summons. When the Indians murdered my wife and 
children I lived only for revenge, and have followed the 
life of a frontier rover, going wherever I could kill a 
red and take a scalp/ 

"I smothered a groan, for I could make no response, 


and the remaining hours of that awful night were a 
vigil of death. 

"The subtle poison of the rattler's bite coursed through 
poor Turner's veins and I was powerless to help him. 
Soon his reason took its flight, and he tossed in wild de- 
lirium until the end. Gents, you can't begin to imagine 
the terrible ordeal through which I passed, listening to 
his wild ravings, and expecting any minute to feel the 
deadly fangs sink into my own flesh. 

"You see, as the fiery poison spread through his veins 
his ravings became awful, and they burned their way 
into my brain until I can remember almost every word at 
this moment. 

"Whether the eyes of his soul actually saw the awful 
scenes that he described in his mad delirium, I am not 
prepared to say, but to me, under the circumstances, they 
were real. Yes, I saw, in the inky darkness, as if in a 
vivid dream, the unfolding of the horrible picture, and 
accompanied him through it all. And I sometimes think 
that by reason of the realism, as the shifting panorama 
ran through my brain, the startling revelation was all that 
saved me from becoming a raving maniac. 

"Shall I recite that part, where he described entering 
the lower regions?" 

We were so deeply interested — spellbound, as it were 
— that we only nodded our heads in reply, for fear of 
breaking the spell of "Smoky's" story. As he took up 
the thread of his narrative, we, too, seemed to actually 
see the exciting scenes of his recital. 

"Well, gents, after many short flights into the un- 
known, he seemed determined to enter the lower regions. 

"All at once he grasped my arm, and in a hoarse, un- 
natural voice, said : 'Look ! there is a hole in the ground 
— 'tis the skylight to hell — strange the devil should leave 
it uncovered. 


" 'Come, here is a rare chance — look down there — what 
a queer country it is ! Oh, here is a winding stairs that 
rests upon the top of a high mountain — come, quick, 
there is no one in sight — we will go down and investigate. 
Say, it makes me dizzy to look down into the great 
depths — be careful or you will fall — mercy! it's getting 
too hot — let's stop and get our breath. I wish I had a 
linen duster instead of this overcoat — say, stop, it's get- 
ting sizzling hot. Wonder if we didn't make a mistake 
coming down here? Let's go back; it's too hot to go 
ahead. Oh, come back! Don't leave me alone in this 
awful place. 

" 'Holy smoke ! Some one is coming up the stairs, 
and he is dressed in red from head to foot, with long 
pointed shoes to match. Look, he is armed with a three- 
pronged trident. No, I'm alone now and cannot escape 
— the door to the skylight is closed. 

" 'Oh, now he sees me — look at his dark fiery eyes — 
listen, he speaks to me! 

"'"Aha; A stranger in hell? How came he thither? 
Not by the established route, via death and the grave, 
for his soul is still dwelling in the tabernacle of clay. 
Can it be that he came through the skylight? It never 
happened before; it must not happen again. He must 
not escape and go back to earth, to reveal what he has 
seen. But can I preserve him alive, in the flesh? It 
would be" an experiment worth trying. Perhaps a fire- 
proof suit, lined with a vacuum of congealed air, might 
answer the purpose. 

" ' "Stranger, how dare you to enter his Majesty's do- 
minion except through the regular route traveled by the 
lost souls? Thou hast violated the laws of hell, that for- 
bid flesh and blood to enter here. Only the spirits of the 
damned are tolerated as slaves within Satan's kingdom. 


Now I go to prepare to transport you to* the palace of 
the king, where the heat rises seven times greater than 
molten iron. In the meantime, on penalty of death if 
you disobey, remain here until my return." And, rais- 
ing an instrument to his lips, he blew a loud, keen blast 
that echoed in the distance. From somewhere in space 
there came in view a sedan chair carried in the air by 
four flying bat-winged imps, and they floated down to 
where the official of Satan waited on the stairs. He en- 
tered the sedan and was swiftly wafted away to the king's 

" 'Alone ; 'tis a strange place to wait — wait for what ? 
To suffer this excessive heat — perchance to perish while 
the perspiration is driven through my pores like water 
from a sponge. 

" 'Ah, now my vision is enlarging — I see the length 
and breadth of hell — look! Far away the bleak moun- 
tains ascend into starless darkness. Yonder glimmering 
fires of the eternal lake of brimstone send bluish shafts 
of light between the lofty peaks, and fantastic shadows 
dance along the mountain sides. Down the precipices 
great caverns yawn, and deep, dark ravines cleave the 
hills in twain. Along the valleys streaks of white light 
zig-zag over the surface like forked lightning. 

" 'In the distance is a great walled city ; yet there is 
not a single habitation in the barren waste surrounding 
it. At the base of the mountains are millions of little 
specks going in and out of burrows like an army of 

" 'Yes, hell is populated — populated with souls of the 
damned, who like so many salamanders live in the 
eternal fires forever and aye. 

" 'Far above the walls of the Eternal City rises an im- 
mense dome over whose top can be seen a swarm of bat- 


winged imps waiting for orders from the devil's emis- 
saries. Upon the parapet of the walls of the city an 
army of red devils are on guard. 

" 'Somewhere within these walls Satan and all his min- 
ions dwell, and hold in subjection millions of damned 

" 'Listen! What means this commotion in the air? 
See, 'tis the bat-winged imps floating a closed sedan. 
They are coming; nearer and nearer! Now it floats at 
my side ; the curtain rolls up, and he who bade me wait 
on the stair, sits within. Stepping quickly from the 
sedan, he presents me with a suit of red, similar to a 
diver's rig. 

" ' "Attire yourself, stranger, at once," he commands. 
And, for the first time since his departure, I realize that 
my flesh has undergone a transformation. Oh, horrors ! 
my clothing has disappeared and my flesh resembles 
parchment. What can have happened to it without my 
knowledge? Have I been mummified and yet live? 

" 'As I hesitate, the sharp words of command ring 
out ! "Ho, imps ! grasp the victim and thrust him within 
this suit." 

" 'In the twinkling of an eye two of the bat-winged 
imps grasp me. Two more open the suit, thrust my lower 
limbs into inflated legs ; then by a dextrous movement 
manipulate spiral springs, and the upper portion arises 
to admit my body and head, and now it comes together 
and clasps — I'm sealed within. They hustle me into the 
sedan, and the official of Satan follows and pulls 
down the curtains : "Away to the palace !" he shouts. 

" T know not what I am now — I do know I am not 
flesh and blood — 'tis a strange body, devoid of all feel- 
ing — no pleasure, no pain — nerves wrought like steel — 
body metallic. "Tell me, thou strange being, what has 
come over me?" 


" ' "It is my Royal Master's pleasure that thou shalt 
forever dwell in hell. Thy presence within the secret 
door, that communicates with the surface of the earth, 
has made him very angry. At first he decided to throw 
you into the fiery pit of damnation, but at the suggestion 
of the vice-devil, who is a scientist, you are to demon- 
strate the process of gradual transformation, that makes 
it possible to save the mummified body of man as well as 
his soul. Therefore, you were left on the stairs until 
the heat gradually absorbed the moisture, blood and fat 
of your body. And now you will be carried to where 
the intense sulphuric atmosphere will complete your 
transformation. If we succeed, you will become a rare 
specimen for freaks. But here we are above the re- 
ceiving tower of the palace ; we now descend to the land- 

" 'A moment of slow, downward movement, and the 
sedan swings at the landing platform, where four foot- 
men grasp the handles and carry it through the grand 
hall, to the large swinging doors of the king's audience 
chamber. The doors are opened and the sound of many 
voices is heard. 

' "Ho, there, minions ! deposit the sedan and retire. 
Come forth, Pluto, and let the prisoner stand before the 

" 'Pluto raises the curtain of the sedan and commands 
me to follow. 

" 'And now I'm blinded by red glaring lights — now 
my vision returns — a most wonderful scene! I stand in 
the center of a dome-covered chamber. In front is the 
throne, occupied by Satan himself, king of all the devils. 
In hideous grandeur he looks down upon me with his 
fierce eyes that burn through and through me like red 
hot bars of steel — cruel eyes that slant to the bridge of 


his nose, giving the expression of fox-like cunning. His 
nose is like an eagle's beak, almost touching his cynical 
mouth, and the lines of his face narrow from his low fore- 
head to his sharp chin, and his mouth has a perpetual 

" 'Satan and all his councilors are clad in tight-fitting 
suits of red, with cloaks and cowls. Thirteen councilors 
sit in a semi-circle in front of the throne. Satan holds in 
his right hand a trident with glittering points. In this 
vast chamber the official business of hell is transacted. 

" 'In the center of this chamber is the bottomless pit ; 
into its depths are cast those who commit treason against 
the king of hell. 

" 'As I make these observations the devil watches me 
with a critical eye and says : 

" ' "Stranger, you were saved from physical death to 
test a scientific theory advanced by our vice-devil, else 
you would have been hurled into the lake of fire and 
brimstone for defying the laws of hell and the mandate 
of the ruler of the universe, by entering my dominion 
clothed in flesh and blood, instead of coming via the route 
of death and the grave. " 

" ' "Oh, King," I reply, "I came not within thy domin- 
ion by design, but found the opening by chance." 

" ' "Well, it matters not now ; your coming is without 
precedent, and if your transformation is made from flesh 
and blood to a being impervious to the intense heat of 
hell, it will also be without precedent. Here, Pluto, 
take him to the fireproof clothing room and robe him 
for the journey down the main shaft to the vice-devil's 
experimental laboratory." 

" 'And Pluto led me to a long, low room, where hun- 
dreds of red suits hung on the walls. 

" 'Commanding me to discard the clumsy suit I wore 


in the sedan, he assists me to robe myself in a tight-fit- 
ting suit with cloak and cowl, and mica eye protectors. 

" ' "This way, stranger," says Pluto, as he leads the 
way to the platform around the main shaft, and grasping 
a tube he shouted an order to the central messenger 

" 'In a few moments from the depths below there came 
floating up the main shaft, supported by four bat-winged 
imps, an open sedan that came to the level of the plat- 
form and remained stationary. 

" ' "Enter, stranger, I follow," and with a wave of his 
hand, Pluto pointed to the sedan. 

" 'When seated, the imps flop their wings in unison, 
and we circle to the center of the shaft and begin to float 
down — down — down — into the depths below. 

" 'From somewhere in the unknown depths come 
shrieks of agony. 

" 'With an exclamation of horror, I lean over the side 
of the sedan and look down ; far below is a burning cal- 
dron ; the molten glare of its bluish flames lights up the 
hideous faces of the pitchfork devils as they hurl the lost 
souls into the everlasting fires of hell. Pluto smiles. 
Down — down — it grows darker and the shrieks louder; 
great snakes are twisting and writhing, and enormous 
lizards are clinging to the sides of the pit. See! there 
goes a vicious dragon ; look at his flashing eyes — horror ! 
Oh, save me ! Here comes a gigantic ogre — his great 
jaws are open — fire comes from his nostrils — he ap- 
proaches — extends his claws — grasps me — thrusts me 
into his capacious mouth — 'tis the end/ 

"Say, gents, did you ever hear of a man's hair turning 
gray in a night? I am not an old man now, but I lived 
a lifetime that awful night. Do you wonder that I ap- 
pear queer and men shun me? Try to imagine for a 



brief moment the terrible position of a man in a den of 
rattlesnakes, listening to the ravings of your companion, 
crazed with the deadly poison that entered his veins 
through the fangs of a rattler, and in his wild delirium 
journeying through the horrors of hell, then you can 
have a slight conception of the night Turner died. 

"I hope you will never have such an experience. But 
if along the rugged path of life the unforeseen should 
happen, pray to the all-wise Creator to blot out the 
memory of it, and allow you to forget. 

"How often have I awaked in the night and lived over 
again the scene in the rattlesnakes' den near Fort Phan- 
tom hill ! 

"Turner died just as the streaks of the morning light 
revealed the opening through which we entered the 
cavern. Somewhere into some of the many openings 
the snakes disappeared, leaving me alone with the dead. 
Say, gents, do you see these gray hairs and this haggard 
face? That night of horrors did it. And that I'm not 
a violent maniac is a great wonder. Over and over again 
it comes to me like an awful nightmare, and I live to 
hear and see Turner go through that struggle with death. 
Is it anything strange that I should be different from 
other men? They call me crazy, and some fear and 
others pity me, but none know how the scourge of mem- 
ory drives me wandering over the range. Slowly and 
sadly I pulled the swollen body of Turner through the 
rocky passage, and gently lowered it to the bed of the 
ravine. After reconnoitering, I could see and hear 
nothing of the Indians. Temporarily covering Turner's 
body with brush and rocks, to protect it from varmints, 
I climbed up the steep bank of the ravine to where I 
could take observations. A quarter of a mile's walk and 
I arrived at the camp of the night before, where, to my 


surprise, I found Burton and his family cooking break- 
fast. From them I learned that a detachment of the 7th 
Cavalry and a band of Tonkawa scouts were on the Co- 
manches' trail at the time they attacked us, and heard 
the firing, and hurried up in time to exchange shots with 
the reds, who were now in full retreat, with the soldiers 
and Tonks at their heels. 

"With the aid of Burton we made a litter and carried 
Turner's body to the mouth of the ravine ; then placing 
it in his wagon, drove to a knoll in sight of the ghostly 
chimneys of Old Fort Phantom hill, and there we dug 
his grave and buried him, and a pile of rough stones 
marks the last resting place of Jeff Turner, the 'Indian 
hater/ " 

So deeply interested, and so closely had Texas and his 
companions followed every detail of "Smoky's" recital 
of his wonderful experience, that not a word was spoken 
for several minutes after he ceased to talk. Then one after 
the other arose and took his hand, as a silent token of 
sympathy and a bond of friendship with this strange man. 

At last Jacobs arose and said : "We thank you for tell- 
ing us your experience, 'Smoky,' and we want you to 
know that every man here is your friend. Now, unroll 
your blankets, boys, and make a shakedown if you want 
to get any sleep before day, for if I mistake not, it is long 
after midnight." In a few minutes all, including 
"Smoky" were wrapped in slumber. 

It was 8 a. m. before Texas and his companions awoke, 
and then only when Jacobs accidentally dropped a tin 
pan during his preparations for breakfast. 

When all had satisfied their appetites, plans were 
formulated to enjoy an outing among the buffalo hunt- 
ers in the vicinity. After considerable persuasion, 
"Smoky" was induced to make one of the party, and by 
noon the outfit was on its way to John Causey's camp. 


That the reader may intelligently understand the sit- 
uation, it is necessary to enter into a description of this 
business that made a vast slaughter pen of Northwest 

This being the third year of the great hunting season 
that led to the extermination of the buffalo, the uninhab- 
ited prairies west of Fort Phantom hill were occupied 
by an army of 5,000 aggressive men, engaged in the 
wholesale slaughter of these animals for the profit de- 
rived from the sale of their hides. The business was car- 
ried on in a systematic way, and possessed none of the 
charms that attend the chase. All the details were care- 
fully planned and deliberately carried out by the intrepid 
hunter with the same calm consideration that would have 
characterized their actions in any other business enter- 
prise. Each outfit was organized, equipped and provi- 
sioned for the season, which generally lasted from three 
to six months, depending entirely on the movements of 
the buffalo. The hunter was the boss of the outfit, a 
kind of generalissimo, whose orders were the unwritten 
law during the season's hunt. His accouterments con- 
sisted of a pair of overalls, blue flannel shirt, duck jacket, 
a go-as-you-please hat and top-boots. He was generally 
armed with a Sharp's .45 caliber rifle, commonly known 
as the "buffalo gun," together with a long camp-knife 
and a six-shooter. He carried his cartridges in a double- 
width belt, supplying 100 rounds for a day's hunt. The 
barrel of the gun was three inches in diameter and very 
heavy, to prevent heating during continuous firing. This 
made it necessary for the hunter to carry a rest stick 
to support the gun when taking aim. Next in importance 
to the hunter were the skinners ; generally from four to 
six men, whose duties were to take the hides from the 
animals and load them into the wagon to be hauled to 


camp, where all hands staked them out to dry. The re- 
maining member of the outfit was the cook. From six 
to eight men, equipped as described, founded a camp near 
some water hole within the range occupied by the buf- 
falo, and if successful in their hunt secured from five 
to ten thousand hides during a season. In this camp 
the hides were salted, poisoned against insects and dried 
in the sun, ready to be hauled to market. The appear- 
ance of a buffalo hunter's camp would be no place to 
invite a housekeeper. A promiscuous confusion of pots, 
skillets, skin-pegs, ammunition boxes, provisions and 
blankets made a wild disorder that would disgust a 
woman beyond an apology. 

The sun was about one hour high when the horses 
shied around a pile of hides in front of Causey's tepee, 
an Indian hut made of poles and hides. Only one man, 
Jim Smith, was in camp, building a fire and making 
preparations to cook supper for the outfit. The other 
men belonging to the camp had not returned from the 
day's hunt. After the usual salutation with Jim, Texas 
and his companions at once unharnessed their horses and 
prepared to remain over night. Knowing the custom 
among frontiersmen, they did not stand on ceremony, and 
when the hunters and skinners arrived they were com- 
fortably quartered within ten yards of the tepee, feeling 
perfectly at home under the circumstances. They were 
invited to partake of the supper prepared by the camp's 
cook, principally composed of fresh buffalo hump, cof- 
fee, bread and potatoes. After the supper was disposed 
of the members of both parties engaged in a general 
conversation, on the current topics that sifted through 
the old papers and the mail from the East. Especially 
interesting was Causey's detailed account of the attack 
on Poe and Jacob's camp ten miles west, a few days be- 


fore, by a small band of Comanches who escaped from 
the Fort Sill reservation. A few well directed shots from 
John Poe's buffalo gun sent them helter-skelter over the 
sand hills out of sight. A detachment of soldiers sent 
out by General McKinzie had captured the young bucks 
and were on their way to the reservation. The chief, 
when questioned about the attack, remarked: "Me heap 
no like him buffalo gun — him shoot to-day and kill to- 
morrow — heap bad medicine" — trying to express his 
surprise at the long distance that the gun carried. 

There is genuine enjoyment in sitting around a camp 
fire and drawing the seductive tobacco smoke through the 
stem of a pipe, while listening to the yarns spun by your 
companions,, 'til the drowsy god reminds you that it is 
time to spread the blankets for the night. Then upon 
some grassy spot, to sleep as sound beneath the twinkling 
stars as when you listened to the first sweet songs that 
kept time with the motion of the cradle. 

At an early hour the next morning every one was 
stirring around Causey's camp, and by daylight enjoy- 
ing a delicious piece of buffalo meat with double-strength 
coffee to arouse dormant energies for the day's hunt. 
After the morning meal all hands and the visitors joined 
the hunter and the skinners who were ready to start. 

It was a beautiful morning, and the sharp, pure air 
sent the blood coursing through the veins with renewed 
vigor. Texas and his companions were to be given an 
opportunity of witnessing all the details of killing buf- 
falo and saving the hides. They climbed into Causey's 
wagon and were driven to the top of an elevation a mile 
distant, overlooking the surrounding valleys, where 
Causey used his field glass to locate a herd of buffalo two 
miles west. Causey, who was an experienced hunter of 
two seasons, directed the driver to follow a course that 


would keep an elevated knoll between the outfit and the 
herd, so that the buffalo would not stampede before he 
arrived within shooting distance. 

The necessity for caution aroused suppressed excite- 
ment, and only the admonition of Causey to keep quiet 
kept the enthusiasm within bounds. Arriving at the base 
of the knoll, the whole outfit alighted from the wagon, 
and with Causey in the lead ascended the knoll. When 
near the top he commanded the other men to lie down 
until he took observation. He would raise his hand 
when it was time for them to crawl up and witness the 
herd under fire. It was several minutes before he sig- 
naled that he was ready to begin the killing. 

When the signal was given, Texas and his companions 
slowly made their way to where Causey was leveling his 
gun. Here they had an excellent view of the situation. 
There was the herd 300 yards distant, leisurely grazing 
on the prairie, unmindful of the danger. 

It was a grand sight to see those shaggy animals in 
their natural element — the wild bison of America, asso- 
ciated in every schoolboy's mind with the stirring tales 
of frontier life ; with Kit Carson and "Buffalo Bill," the 
names linked with the buffalo and Indians. In fact, the 
early history of America would not be complete without 
the bison, which, Webster says, was erroneously called 

Getting a stand was the most interesting part of the 
hunter's duties in connection with the day's hunt. To 
do this he must shoot the leader down in his tracks ; then 
by a series of skillful shots, aimed to ricochet in the 
dust and confuse the buffalo, causing them to run in a 
circle, becoming more and more compact, like the wind- 
ing of an endless chain, until in this crowded condition 
they became too bewildered to break away. This state 


was what the cattlemen called milling. The leader of 
the herd, a bull buffalo, was grazing about ten steps in 
advance of the herd, and from time to time raised his 
head on the lookout for danger. 

A growth of cactus and catclaws on the crest of the 
knoll formed an excellent screen for Causey and the four 
young men who were anxious to witness the operations 
of the hunter. Taking advantage of the screen, Causey 
raised himself to a sitting posture and began to recon- 
noiter. Then he adjusted his cartridge belt, picked up 
his gun and rest stick. Placing the stick in front, he 
raised himself upon one knee, placed the barrel of the 
gun upon the stick and pointed it in the direction of the 
herd. One of the men directed the visitor's attention to 
the bull feeding in front of the herd. The next instant 
the sharp crack of Causey's gun was heard, and the 
animal pitched forward upon his knees, and slowly sank 
to the ground. During the next half-hour an exciting 
scene lay before them. 

When the report of the rifle crashed with its startling 
effect, every animal in the herd raised its head and looked 
wildly around, but only for a moment; then they all 
rushed away at full speed toward the south, and the vis- 
itors expected to see them run out of range of the hunt- 
er's rifle, but a few well directed shots in the dirt in front 
of them, turned the herd to the east, then to the north, 
to the west and again to the south, until they began to 
mill and became perfectly bewildered by their own move- 
ments, and seemed to huddle together for mutual pro- 
tection. What a grand, awful picture was presented! 
A herd of wild animals trembling with fright, while each 
report of the deadly rifle lessened their number, one by 
one, until the living were fenced in by the dead. A grand 
triumph of science and intellect over animal instinct. At 


last the hunter's gun became so hot it was dangerous 
to attempt to load it. Then came an intermission, during 
which time the remainder of the herd scampered off in 
a southerly direction, leaving their dead and wounded 
at the mercy of the skinners. Texas and companions 
followed the skinners down from the top of the knoll 
to where the buffalo lay in an area of about ioo yards. 
Using their six-shooters the skinners killed the wounded. 
A few motherless calves that had escaped the bullets 
were knocked in the head. Fifty-three buffalo had fallen 
and now the skinners prepared to take their hides off. 
Each carried two knives and a steel to sharpen them. 
These skinners were artists in their line. With one 
stroke of the knife they encircled the hock above the 
hoof, then a quick movement of the hand split the hide 
down each leg and along the animal's belly to its under- 
jaw. Then, with a large curved skinning knife, the hide 
was removed in the incredibly short time of from five 
to eight minutes. Nothing was saved except the tongues 
and hides. Consequently, from $15 to $20 worth of fine 
meat was destroyed to save a dollar hide. After the work 
of removing the hides was finished each man carefully 
wiped his knife and returned it to the scabbard attached 
to his belt. Then began the operation of salting and roll- 
ing the hides, preparatory to hauling them to camp. Hav- 
ing seen all that was worth seeing connected with the 
killing and skinning, Texas and his companions jumped 
into the wagon and returned to camp with the first load 
of hides, to watch the staking process. The hides were 
taken from the wagon and carried to a clear plot of grass, 
where they were carefully unrolled and stretched tight, 
to their full capacity, and stakes driven into the outer 
edge to hold them until perfectly dry, and piled in a rick 
to wait transportation. 


Among the old bull buffaloes that led the herds up and 
down Panhandle there were many wise heads that had 
learned from experience that there was danger in the 
sight of a covered wagon. This became so pronounced 
that during the latter years of the hunting season in 
Northwest Texas all outfits carefully concealed their 
wagonsheets and avoided displaying anything white. In 
fact, like all animals that had come in contact with the 
deadly effects of the hunter's gun, it required the utmost 
caution to approach within shooting distance of the herd 
and prevent a stampede. 

Consequently, when Texas and his companions were 
slowly plodding their way up the long divide between the 
Deep creek of the Colorado and the Clear Fork of the 
Brazos, they were not surprised when rounding the point 
of a low mountain and coming within view of a large 
herd, that as soon as the animals caught sight of the flap- 
ping wagonsheet they turned tail and fled. 

As the great herd swept up the valley of the Deep 
creek, driven by the frenzied fear that only the brain 
of an excited buffalo can conjure up, when whirled in 
the cyclone of stampede, the crush was awful. 

Great billows of dust rolled up like the thunder clouds 
that hover along the storm's path when the sky is dark- 
ened and the elements tremble. Those on the outside 
pressed closer and closer on the struggling mass, that 
grew dense from force of numbers. The weak and young 
were carried along and only escaped death because there 
was not room enough to fall down. But one large, shaggy 
bull, perhaps destined to some day lead the herd could he 
have lived, thrust his fore foot into a dog hole and the leg 
snapped like a pipe stem as the momentum threw him 
beneath the sharp hoofs that cut and mangled his body 
into a shapeless thing, quivering and jerking as the last 
spark of life escaped. 


The great herd passed by and disappeared over the 
divide as the last rays of the sun scintillated over the 
mesquite grass. 

The sunset and the gray shadows of the twilight deep- 
ened into darker hues as the night came on, and Texas 
and his companions camped on the side of the trail at 
Sand Rock springs. The moon arose, and its soft light 
melted the rough edges off the landscape and painted a 
beautiful picture to look upon. Insect nature was still. 
The onrush of the great herd had driven it into seclusion 
and it had not even ventured to chirp, lest it once more 
awaken that awful roar. But out there where the carcass 
of the dead bull lies, his rich, red blood is staining the 
prairie, and the scent of it has floated out on the night 
breeze until it has awakened the savage lust of a coyote 
on the mountain side. He stops, raises his head high in 
the air until his muzzle points heavenward and he begins 
to utter a series of short, sharp yelps, ending in a pro- 
longed wail as he arises from his haunches and trots 
off briskly to find the carcass and feast. The yelps and 
wail are answered by another wolf in the distance, and 
then another joins in, and now is heard the well known 
coyote chorus. In the morning the polished bones will 
testify that they feasted and fought all night and skulked 
away to their dens in the gray light from the East. 

The ways of divine Providence are hard to understand, 
and no doubt 'tis best for man not to philosophize when 
he can not have a reason why that it is necessary for life 
to subsist upon life to sustain life. 

And before passing over this incident of their home- 
ward bound journey it is well to notice a queer condition 
of the camping ground. 

On the highest point of this divide was a bubbling 
spring in the bottom of a basin of sandstone, known as 


Sand Rock springs. In either direction the country 
sloped down into the valleys along the streams, and it 
was twenty miles to water. 

This was a famous camping ground for the hunters, 
Indians and trail outfits. By reason of the high eleva- 
tion the Indians, when on the war path, used it to light 
their signal fires to communicate with their red brothers 
on some distant peak. But, like every other advantage 
possessed by the Indians, the white man appropriated it. 

The bubbling water of this spring was clear and cool, 
furnishing a refreshing beverage to the thirsty traveler. 

Texas and his companions lingered until the middle of 
the forenoon before resuming their journey toward the 
east, after spending two weeks on the buffalo range, en- 
joying the health-giving exercises and amusing incidents 
of range life. 

No doubt, buffalo hunting for sport is attended by all 
the grand and exciting spirit of the chase, and is worthy 
of the ambition of sporting men. The Grand Duke 
Alexis, father of the present czar of Russia, devoted two 
weeks to chasing these quadrupeds on the Western plains, 
and called it rare sport. But the systematic killing that 
reduced buffalo hunting to a business, during the years 
from 1875 to 1879, destroyed them, leaving only a few 
small herds. In many respects the extermination of the 
buffalo has been a blessing to Northwest Texas. The 
buffalo was the Indian's commissary, and as long as they 
grazed on the open prairie the hostile Indians depredated 
upon the white settlers. The buffalo being capable of 
consuming as much grass as any other animal of the 
bovine species, his sudden demise opened up a vast graz- 
ing district to the stockmen, and thousands of head of 
cattle were fattened, year after year, where once the buf- 
falo alone held possession. Thousands of tons of the 


bleached bones of these animals have been shipped to 
market, to be ground up and sold as fertilizer. The civ- 
ilizing influences of the white man has been too much 
for the buffalo and wild Indian, and both have passed 
into history. The remnant of the great herds that once 
roamed at will over the prairies of the Dakotas, Colo- 
rado, New Mexico and Texas is found at Charles Good- 
night's Palo Duro ranch in the Panhandle, and in the 
government herd in the Grand Canyon. 



Behind careless sangfroid and beneath rough exterior, 
God enthroned a true man who will bow to no superior. 

Nature's Noblemen 

Search the world over for manly men — nature's noble- 
men, who scorned to do an underhand trick to gain an 
advantage over an adversary, making the price of honor 
so high that dishonor forfeited the life of the betrayer, 
and you may have created an impossible ideal. But go 
to the real old-time ranchman, who now perhaps is a 
banker or dealer in high finance, and ask him to tell you 
the characteristics of those bold, reckless, dare-devils 
that he used to employ on the range, who could laugh 
while they fought the robbers and Indians, and he will 
tell you that nowhere on God's footstool were women and 
children safer than under the protecting care of the cow- 
boys. They never failed to respond to an appeal for help 
when the lives and homes of the early settlers were in 
danger. With his pony and arms the cowboy placed his 
life at their service and boldly marched forth to victory 
or death. 

Like sailors who sailed the seas over, months and 
months out of sight of land, the cowboys rode the prairies 
for months and months without ever visiting a settle- 
ment. Consequently, like sailors on shore, when they 
came in from the range the cowboys turned themselves 
loose and had a "high old time." 


But when playtime was over and duty called they 
went forth without a murmur or a note of protest to the 
wilds once more, and cheerfully entered into the rough 
life that gave no hope of pleasure. 

All honor to the Texas cowboy, living or dead. With 
all his faults his virtues were many. 

He did picket duty far out on the frontier when civil- 
ization lingered in the background, trembling with fear 
lest the scalping knife and tomahawk come marching 
down the trail. 

The writer of this volume takes great pleasure in re- 
cording this brief tribute to the cattlemen and cowboys, 
who were his personal friends through a period of years, 
whose bravery was beyond question and whose honor 
was always above suspicion. 

The ranchmen and cowboys were a product of the 
times in which they lived — times that tried men's souls 
and put manhood to the test and lives hung in the bal- 
ance. How bravely they met the issues and vanquished 
every foe, is a matter of frontier history. 

It was the period when the unwritten law of hospital- 
ity drove away all selfish thought, and neighbor vied with 
neighbor to show their appreciation of the blessings of 
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Consequently, 
the frontiersmen learned the great fundamental truths 
and the secret of human happiness, "that it is better to 
give than to receive." The desire for a favor became a 
duty to him who received the request. Many a time 
has a careless cowboy by chance overheard a ranchman's 
wife say that she was out of needles, thread or buttons, 
and made it his special duty to ride five and even ten 
miles out of his way to secure a supply, that he might 
have the pleasure of presenting them to her on his return 
to the ranch. 


A ranchman never killed a beef that he did not remem- 
ber his neighbor (sometimes living twenty miles distant) 
and send him a quarter. 

Generosity was a cardinal virtue carried to an extreme 
that would appear ludicrous in this day of sharp compe- 

The appeals of the sick and distressed called forth a 
noble response from the scattered ranchmen and cow- 
boys, who vied with each other to bring the first relief. 
No one was ever called on to solicit aid ; it was sufficient 
to make known that a worthy object of charity had been 
discovered when the response was spontaneous. 

Written obligations for small loans were never thought 
of. I. O. U., based on the honor of the man, secured 
from one to a thousand dollars. 

Nowhere on the earth is true manhood put to a more 
severe test than on the frontier. It requires bravery, 
honor and integrity to fill the measure that Bobby Burns 
laid down when he said : "A man's a man for a' that." 

Many things we gain and some things we lose in the 
march of civilization. 

To the individual heroism and fortitude of the Texas 
cowboy the people of the State are indebted for their 
present wealth and resources, and the writer of this story 
is pleased to say that many of the erstwhile cowboys of 
Northwest Texas are alive to-day, enjoying the fruits 
of their labors, occupying positions high in financial cir- 
cles, or filling positions of honor and trust, with the 
entire confidence of the people. 

A Rough House 

On one occasion, in the old Adobe saloon, known as 
the "Beehive" by reason of the sign over the door, on 
one end of which was painted a beehive, followed by a 


piece of doggerel poetry that informed the thirsty trav- 
eler that — 

'In this hive we are all alive, good whisky makes us funny, 
And if you are dry, step in and try the flavor of our honey." 

In this old ginmill three men were killed and two of- 
ficers wounded. The cowboys from Millet's ranch in 
Baylor county were making a night of it. Jim Bland, 
the range boss, and Charley Reed were the ring leaders. 
They were in the billiard room shooting out the lights, 
when Sheriff Bill Cruger was notified. Hastily sum- 
moning County Attorney Jeffrys and Assessor Bogard 
to assist him, he repaired to the saloon and demanded 
that Bland and Reed surrender. But the fighting spirit 
of the cowboys was aroused, and instead of complying 
they turned their guns on the officers and a fierce battle 
was fought through the partition door. When the smoke 
cleared, Bland and ex-Lieutenant Meyers, who were in 
the billiard room, and a cowboy by the name of Bran- 
non, in the bar room were killed, Sheriff Cruger slightly 
wounded and County Attorney Jeffrys shot through the 
right breast. 

It was early in October when Texas and Kentuck were 
invited to join Lynch's outfit and witness the final grand 
round-up of the season. 

The organized system of round-ups, begun in the early 
spring and carried on during the summer, was now at an 
end, and all the calves and unbranded cattle would be 
cut out and driven to the home ranch, where they would 
be marked and branded before being turned loose during 
the winter months. 

After seven months, occupied in hunting out the breaks 
and canyons, driving over miles and miles of broad 
prairies, the strenuous labors of the cowboys' season was 



nearing the end and he could look forward to a few 
months' respite. 

The Texas Cowboy 

And now, dear reader, this is an excellent place in our 
narrative to introduce you to the real Texas cowboy. 

To see the cowboy in all his glory, one must catch a 
glimpse of him on horseback as he gallops over the 
prairie. In the saddle he is at home, and the more spirit- 
ed the horse the better pleased the rider. 

The horse and rider seem one, like the centaur, so 
much in harmony are their motions. The broad-brimmed 
hat, leather leggins and six-shooter go to make up the 
uniform that distinguishes him from the rest of the 
world. His saddle, bridle and lasso form the most im- 
portant articles of his outfit, and are generally purchased 
with a view of display as well as for utility. These 
articles are often worth more than the pony that carries 
them. With a pair of blankets and an oil slicker, the 
average cowboy is prepared for all kinds of weather, and 
without a change of clothing will be absent for a month 
on a cow hunt. 

Years of practice makes the cowboy an expert rider, 
while his open-air life and freedom from restraint give 
him a careless and reckless appearance, often taken for 
mere bravado. Therefore those who know him are not 
disposed to quarrel with those who judge the cowboy 
from observation, for even Kentuck was free to confess 
that in competition for public favor he would be handi- 
capped by his appearance. There was an unwritten law 
in the kingdom where the cattle barons ruled forbidding 
the wearing of any costume that carried the earmarks of 
social or commercial life. And experience will prove that 
it is not prejudice but common sense that dictates the 


cowboy's costume. A two weeks' trip after cattle will 
soon convince a man that a flannel shirt will hide dirt 
and stand the wear and tear of camp life much better 
than a white one, and one night around a camp fire will 
convince him that ducking overalls are the only protec- 
tion against grease and dirt. Consequently, the cowboys 
adopted a costume in harmony with their occupation. 

The large Mexican spurs that dangle at the cowboy's 
heels are a most potent persuader to his jaded pony, and 
will accelerate his movements when all hope of touch- 
ing his feelings with a quirt has failed. As an orna- 
ment his spurs are sure to attract attention, and when 
successfully manipulated by a full-fledged cowboy along 
the pavement of a city or town are capable of making 
as much noise as a hurdy-gurdy in full operation. Next 
in importance to his six-shooter, the cowboy considered 
his spurs a necessary appendage to his equipment, rarely 
taking them off, even at a dance or social gathering. 

In the cowboy's camp a stranger always received a 
hearty welcome. 

The proportions of his bed and table were similar to 
the old-fashioned omnibus on the turnpike roads — al- 
ways room for one more, and a chance to put your name 
in the pot that hung over the fire. And though the strang- 
er might not admire the style of the cooking or the clean- 
liness of the bed, he certainly must admire the spirit of 
hospitality that proffered them. There was a rough, 
cheerful sincerity about the cowboy's manner that made 
one feel at his ease the moment he alighted from his 
horse. And in this connection let it be known that there 
was observed in the early days of the Texas frontier a 
rule of hospitality as commendable as it was convenient. 
Any one traveling across the country, no matter whether 
he be a range man or stranger, was privileged to stop, 


cook and eat wherever he found a camp. The latch- 
string hung on the outside and the provisions were free 
on the inside ; and if it were night a free bed and break- 
fast in the morning. Every ranch, in fact even every dug- 
out, was a free inn for the hungry and weary, and a gen- 
erous welcome greeted the newcomer at the door. 

The mustang, broncho or cayuse, depending on the 
particular locality for its name, was the cowboy's pony, 
a semi-domesticated animal that lived on the native mes- 
quite grass, and was stabled on the prairie by hoppling 
him out with a rawhide thong. It would be almost worth 
a man's life to touch him with a currycomb, and he has 
been known to stampede when proffered an ear of corn. 
No one except a genuine cowboy understands the 
mechanism of a mustang pony. You may ride him all 
day in a gallop, and at night he will look like Don 
Quixote's Rosinante, and you turn him out expecting to 
attend his obsequies in the morning, but you will find him 
fresh and ready for a journey. .One of the peculiarities 
about these ponies are their ungovernable propensity to 
buck you off when you first mount one in the morning. 
This feat is accomplished by putting his head between 
his forelegs and jumping in a zig-zag manner for about 
five minutes, making it difficult for even an experienced 
rider to maintain his seat in the saddle. After a pony 
has performed this feat to his entire satisfaction, he is 
ready for the day's journey. These animals are of Span- 
ish origin and are said to be the direct descendants of 
the Arabian horses bred by the Moors. They are noted 
for their endurance. 

The cowboy's pony is an animal of a marked degree 
of intelligence, easy to learn any duty required of him, 
and particularly adapted to herding and driving cattle. 

Free grass and one common pasture made cattle-rais- 


ing exceedingly profitable in those days. No boundary 
lines, real or imaginary, marked the possessions of the 
cattle barons of other days — one vast expanse of prairie 
country, covered with the famous mesquite grass, upon 
which tens of thousands of head of cattle grazed at will, 
bearing on their sleek sides the peculiar monogram of 
ownership representing the rights of personal property. 
After grass came up in spring, and cattle became suf- 
ficiently strong to be driven north from the canyons and 
brakes of the southern range, the ranchmen sent their 
outfits to begin to drift them slowly back to the home 
range. As the summer advanced, a series of round-ups 
were instituted to give the cattlemen the privilege of cut- 
ting out their brands, and drive by easy stages under 
close herd to the next range, and so on to the home 
ranch. Early on the day appointed for a round-up on a 
certain range, the cowboys meet at an appointed place, 
where they are apportioned off in squads under an ex- 
perienced hand. Each squad gathers everything within 
a certain scope of country and drives them to a common 
center called a round-up ground. In this way all the 
cattle within a range of thirty miles square are bunched 
in one large herd. 

The Round-up 

Imagine, if you can, a beautiful valley, where the slop- 
ing hills on all sides form a natural amphitheater, and 
the green carpet of mesquite grass dotted here and there 
with dwarf-looking trees, and the whole scene enhanced 
by the blue sky, where the feathery white clouds float 
in azure space. And in the center of this grand picture 
painted by the hand of nature can be seen a great herd 
of 10,000 head of cattle fenced in by men on horseback. 

This was Kentuck's first view of a general round-up, 


and he rode to the top of a knoll where he could secure 
a good view of the scene below. A chorus of bellowing 
mixed with the shouts of the cowboys floated up from 
the valley, that made Kentuck alive to the scene before 

When everything was ready and the cattle under the 
control of the herders, preparations were made to begin 
cutting out the different brands from the main herd and 
putting them in small herds under the care of the own- 
ers. This was the acknowledged right, exercised by each 
owner in turn, until the entire herd was cut and the cat- 
tle of the same brand separated from the other brands. 
To perform this task an expert hand from each outfit 
was selected. He was generally well mounted on a pony 
trained especially for this part of the work. Thus 
mounted on his faithful pony, the cowboy rode into the 
herd among the cattle and selected, one by one, the cattle 
wearing the brand he represented. Riding behind each 
animal, he would, by dexterous movements of his pony, 
force it through the packed herd to the outer edge of the 
herd, and with a quick movement start the animal on a 
run for a dozen yards from the main herd, when another 
cowboy would ride up and drive it to where the cattle in 
that brand were held under guard. The expert hand 
would again return into the herd and cut out another, 
and so on until all the cattle in that brand had been re- 
moved from the herd. While this process was going on 
there was a cordon of cowboys formed around the entire 
herd. One outfit after another cut the herd until all the 
cattle were separated into small herds, each carrying the 
brand of ownership, and to be driven back to the home 
range. One or more of the hands belonging to each out- 
fit carried a long whip with a short handle, which re- 
quired considerable experience to use. These whips were 


sometimes used in cutting out, but their principal use 
was driving stragglers back into the herd when on the 
trail. After the cattle had all been separated they were 
driven off in different directions to the branding pens at 
each home ranch. 

One glance back over the scene, as Kentuck and Texas 
started homeward, repaid them for all the fatigue of the 
day. The natural grandeur of the situation made a last- 
ing impression on their minds. Toward all points of the 
compass the small herds could be seen, wending their 
way across the prairie, while now and then the distant 
shout of the cowboys floated on the evening air. It was 
a wild scene with no habitation in sight, a vast unbroken 
prairie almost weird in appearance as the shadows 
lengthened from the setting sun. 

The animated scene of an hour before was now mel- 
lowing into silence, more imposing by reason of the re- 
action from the exciting incidents during the day. 

Marking and Branding 

Marking and branding cattle would be very interest- 
ing to those who never visited the cattle range, but to 
the ranchman and his cowboys it was a matter of busi- 

When the herd from the round-up arrived at the home 
ranch it was held under loose herd near the branding 
pen, and a number that did not overtax the capacity of 
the pen were driven in and lassoed one at a time, thrown 
down on their sides, one cowboy holding down the head 
and another at the animal's back holding its tail taut be- 
tween its legs, while a third advanced with a red hot 
branding iron and burned the letters or characters on its 
side. As each animal was released the roper stepped 
into the center of the pen with his lasso, and swinging 


the coil around his head, approached the bunch of cattle 
and started them on a run around the pen, and at the 
proper moment threw the open loop with precision and 
skill, rarely ever missing the head of the animal. This 
was repeated over and over again until all the animals 
carried the mark and brand of the owner. 

Marking and branding cattle was a laborious work 
and sometimes dangerous, by reason of the wild nature 
of the cattle, some of them as vicious as the untamed 
herds in the valleys of the Amazon. 

A mad cow whose fighting blood has been aroused is 
a dangerous proposition, as many a cowboy can testify 
to his sorrow. This was demonstrated one day in the 
streets of Albany, when a stray that persisted in trying 
to run back into the herd was finally lassoed and dragged 
some distance. When turned loose the animal arose 
fighting, and charged down onto everything in sight. A 
movement at a door or window was sufficient to incur 
her wrath. As a matter of safety, the animal was finally 
shot down to prevent serious bodily injury to some of 
the inhabitants. 

It was also a dangerous proposition to undertake to 
wear red when riding or walking on the range. It vir- 
tually meant "shaking a red rag in a bull's face." 

A Stampede 

For weeks the Reynolds Brothers had been massing 
a large herd of stock cattle, to be driven to their ranch 
in the "Bad Lands" of Dakota. 

It was to be an experiment in removing Texas cattle 
to the rigorous climate north, to relieve the congested 
conditions of their home range, that had become circum- 
scribed by reason of a system of wire fencing, intro- 
duced to divide the public domain into small ranches and 


The last round-up was made on California creek, and 
all was in readiness to depart early the next morning on 
the long drive across country to the distant Dakota. 

The cattle had been bedded for the night and the tired 
cowboys gathered around the "chuck" wagon for the 
evening meal. 

Two of the boys were left on guard around the herd, 
to be relieved after the others had satisfied their hunger. 

It was a warm, sultry evening in the middle of August. 
The sun had gone down in a flood of glory and the twi- 
light shadows settled gently down over the prairie. One 
by one the stars came forth and took their place in the 
firmament and a peaceful quiet soothed man and beast. 

The two boys on guard were singing in that soft, low 
tone that goes a long way toward pacifying cattle when 
held under close herd. But something happened to alarm 
the cattle. There was a snort, followed by a loud bellow, 
and in a second the whole herd was on its feet, bellow- 
ing in unison as they made a mad rush for the open 

"Say, pard, did you ever see an onrush of frightened 
cattle, racing for dear life in a frenzied stampede? Well, 
it is certainly worth seeing, and if you happen to be 
in the saddle trying to check the progress, you will never 
forget it so long as you live," said Luke McCabe. 

"They are off for tall timber," said McCabe to his 
companion, Mart Gentry, as he drove his spurs into his 
bronco and attempted to gain the flank of the fright- 
ened herd. 

"All right," said Gentry, as they raced down the valley. 
"Bear in on the leaders and see if we can't get them to 
milling. That's our only chance to prevent them break- 
ing away and scattering." 

By this time every cowboy in camp, led by the "boss," 
Jeffries, joined in the chase after the runaways. 


It did not take long for the wiry little ponies to come 
abreast of the frenzied leaders and turn them in on the 
flying herd. More and more the pressure was tightened 
until the cattle began to run round in a circle, and soon 
formed in a whirling mass of uplifted heads and clashing 
horns, frantic with fear as they whirled over the ground 
like a cyclone, enveloped in a cloud of dust that obscured 
the whole scene. 

The "mill" had now formed and all danger of a run- 
away was at an end, but the bellowing circle on the out- 
side pressed closer and closer upon the inner circle like 
the winding of a rope upon a reel, until, from sheer ex- 
haustion, the herd became an inert mass of smoking, 
steaming cattle. 

And now the expert knowledge of the cowboys was 
displayed in the careful way they went to work to break 
the mill. 

Led by Phil Reynolds, the boys rode slowly to the edge 
of the circle, and, forming a wedge, started in and grad- 
ually unwound the "mill" by moving the outside animals 
off on a tangent, reversing the process that wound them 
together, and the great mass became a peaceful herd 
once more. 

Following a stampeded herd at night is a position of 
great danger. The chances of being caught in the "mill," 
are very great, and to be caught in the whirling mass 
was almost sure death to both horse and rider. 

A dozen head of cattle were knocked down and 
trampled to death in this mad onrush of stampeded cattle 
that swept down the valley of California creek that starlit 
night in August. 

Many an old-time cowboy now living in comfort and 
ease, with wife and children around him, can recall the 
exciting scenes of a stampede when he helped to chase 


the flying herd in a whirlwind of suffocating dust across 
the open prairie far out on the northwest range of Texas. 
And he no doubt heaves a long sigh as he remembers. 

Overland Trail 

This was the season of the year when from 75,000 to 
100,000 head of cattle from Southern Texas was driven 
over the old Overland trail to Kansas and other North- 
ern markets, to be sold or fed during the coming winter 
and then placed on the spring market. 

It was one bright morning in the month of June, 1879, 
that Texas invited Kentuck to mount a pony and accom- 
pany him on a ride along the trail to Fort Griffin. 

The trail broadened and narrowed in breadth accord- 
ing to the topographical features of the ground and the 
condition of the grass by the wayside. The season was 
unusually active, owing to greatly appreciated prices in 
the Northern market. It was estimated that between 
75,000 and 100,000 would be driven through before the 
season closed. 

When Texas and Kentuck came in sight of the mov- 
ing herds, clouds of dust stirred by thousands of hoofs 
hung in heavy festoons over the valley and across the 
broad prairie, distinctly lining the course of the trail until 
it faded away on the distant horizon. 

The herds were composed of from 2,000 to 3,000 head 
of cattle each, averaging about one mile apart, and driven 
from eight to ten miles a day, subsisting entirely on the 
native mesquite grass near the line of the trail. Each 
herd had an outfit of from ten to fifteen men, twenty- 
five to thirty saddle ponies and a "chuck" wagon presid- 
ed over by a cook and his assistant. The cattle were 
loose herded during the night and started on the trail 
at 9 a. m. and driven until 5 p. m. 


The system of driving the cattle along the trail is very 
interesting, especially to a tenderfoot who, for the first 
time, is permitted to watch the proceedings. On either 
side of the herd near the front rode two cowboys, called 
the pointers, who kept the leaders on the trail and shaped 
the course of the herd. The remainder of the boys, ex- 
cept the cook and his assistant, were busy keeping up the 
stragglers and cutting out the strays. The cook's as- 
sistant, known as the wrangler, kept the saddle ponies 
moving in the wake of the herd, and the cook brought 
up the rear with the "chuck" wagon. The cattle were 
driven in double column formation, like an army corps 
on the march, and the cowboys, riding up and down the 
line like so many officers, presented a novel sight. 

In this way large bodies of cattle were driven over 
the trail. 

Fort Griffin being the intermediate supply point on the 
trail, each outfit camped for a day and night within easy 
distance of the fort, to give plenty of time for the sup- 
plies to be loaded into the "chuck" wagon. All the cow- 
boys not on watch took advantage of the chance for a 
night's carousal. And they generally made the night 
hideous with their drunken revelry. But the morning 
after the drunk was the critical time, when there was 
almost sure to be a clash between these scapegraces and 
the officers. There was a dare-devil ambition among 
these Southern cowboys to be able to boast on their re- 
turn home that they had "taken a town," which, trans- 
lated into vigorous English, means that they rode through 
the streets to the open prairie, shooting right and left, 
without being captured by the local officers. 

To demonstrate what these escapades were like, it is 
only necessary to relate one instance as an illustration of 
the many that transpired during a season's drive up the 


It was the day after Kentuck qualified as county at- 
torney that he mounted his pony and rode over to the 
fort to see what was on the justice's docket. When he 
came in sight of the fort he saw a bunch of about 2,000 
head of cattle loose herded near the trail, and the "chuck" 
wagon rolling along in front of him, on its way to the 
town for supplies. From some unknown reason, Ken- 
tuck became conscious of a premonition of trouble be- 
tween this outfit and the officers. And on the conviction 
thus aroused, he rode to the justice's office and inquired 
for Marshal Dave Barker. After the usual greeting, 
Kentuck said : 

"Dave, whose outfit is that loose herded in the valley 
beyond Government hill?" 

"Why, that's Gamble's outfit that Marshal John Poe 
had so much trouble with last season." 

"Well, Dave," Kentuck remarked, "you had better 
summon a few of the boys to assist you and prepare for 
them in the morning, for they will try and even up the 
score this time." 

"All right, Kentuck; I'll make music for them with a 
shotgun loaded with buckshot." 

Colonel Steele's docket showed an accumulation of ten 
cases to be tried on complaints of gambling, vagrancy 
and drunkenness. After announcing that the cases 
would be taken up at 10 a. m. on the morrow, the judge 
adjourned court and Kentuck repaired to the hotel to 
clean up and rest. 

The general bustle of a very busy day incident to the 
outfitting of about 500 buffalo hunters for a season on 
the range, and filling orders for ranch supplies, gave 
Griffin avenue the appearance of a business mart in a 
large city. Otherwise it was unusually quiet for the Flat. 
It was true, as the day neared the twilight hour, the cow- 


boys belonging to the Gamble outfit gave evidence of 
being loaded with "booze," and inclined to stir up a 
racket. But it was near the midnight hour before they 
began to make a rough house in the dance halls. Ken- 
tuck was sleeping in the store-fort, an inclosure made 
with salt, meal and flour sacks, to form a protection from 
stray bullets. 

An occasional shot would be heard and an imitation 
Indian warwhoop down the avenue near the old Adobe 
saloon, that announced the forming of a procession to be- 
gin a gunshot serenade. A very few moments sufficed 
to put this army of hoodlums in motion, and they came 
marching up the avenue firing their six-shooters right 
and left with reckless disregard of both life and 

"Kentuck, do you know what that means?" asked his 
companion, George Wilhelm. 

"Yes," replied Kentuck; "it means to lie low to-night 
and view the battle ground in the morning." 

From that time until daylight there was pandemonium 
in the Flat. Ribald singing, mixed with warwhoops and 
boasting challenges to the officers, with pistol fusillades 
to emphasize the words, left no time for sleep. 

The front of the store was constructed of plank only 
one inch thick and afforded no protection against "45" 
Colt bullets. Consequently, it was full of splintered holes 
the next morning. 

It was about 8 a. m. when the Gamble outfit saddled 
up their bronchos in Hank Smith's wagon yard and 
rode out in front of the Beehive saloon for a farewell 
drink before going out to the herd. The negro cook of 
the outfit, "fat and sassy," weighing about 200 pounds, 
came in early to notify the boys that the herd was ready 
to move up the trail. 


Marshal Barker and three citizens, heavily armed, an- 
ticipating trouble, and fearing that the cowboys would 
make a run and shoot as they rode out of town, con- 
cealed themselves in the mesquites at the foot of the 
avenue near the river. 

About twenty yards before the trail dipped into the 
depression where the marshal's posse were concealed, a 
bridle path turned to the right through the mesquites and 
led to a shallow crossing about 300 yards above the main 

As the marshal anticipated, the Gamble outfit, after 
cinching up their bronc's, mounted, pulled their guns and 
began a mad race down the avenue, quirting their ponies 
to full speed, shooting and yelling as they passed along. 
The negro cook, on a poor mount, could not keep the 
pace set by the other cowboys, and by the time they ar- 
rived in the vicinity of the marshal's posse, the negro 
lost sight of his companions in the mesquites. 

Whether the cowboys caught sight of the marshal and 
his men, or had been previously warned, certain it is 
that they made a detour on the bridle path, dodging the 
marshal and crossing at the upper ford. 

The negro cook was not so fortunate, but, acting on 
the supposition that the cowboys were following the 
main trail, he ran into the marshal's posse and was or- 
dered to surrender. But, instead of doing so, he pulled 
his pistol and began to shoot. Then there began an ex- 
citing battle, the negro retreating and the officers follow- 
ing, both sides exchanging shots as they came back up 
Griffin avenue, the negro managing to reload as often 
as his pistol was empty, notwithstanding he was wound- 
ed in a half-dozen places. Finally, his pony was killed, 
and he crawled behind it, using the animal's body as a 


He kept up the fight until Ed. Forrest, one of the mar- 
shal's posse, emptied a load of buckshot into him and, 
though wounded eleven times, he was still breathing and 
conscious. Only one of the marshal's posse, John Ham- 
mond, received a flesh wound. The negro gave his name 
as Dick Bell and was turned over to a negro family to 
care for, with the prediction that he would die before 
morning, but, strange to relate, he lingered along for two 
weeks and recovered sufficiently to escape. 

This was but one of the many encounters between the 
officers and the South Texas cowboys. 

Notwithstanding the preliminary organization of the 
Cattle Raisers' association in the year 1876, at Graham, 
in Young county, by S. B. Burnett, D. B. Gardner, 
Dan Waggoner, Tom Waggoner, J. C. Loving, D. W. 
Goodwin, John N. Simpson, C. L. Carter, W. B. Slaugh- 
ter, W. B. Worsham, E. B. Harold and others, the real 
organization was perfected at Fort Griffin in the fall of 
1877. From Palo Pinto and Jack on the east to the bor- 
der of New Mexico on the west the ranchmen, range 
bosses and cowboys were present; not so much because 
there was an association to be organized, but because it 
afforded a rare opportunity for old chums to fraternize. 

Consequently, for several days before the time set for 
the convention the numbers grew and multiplied until 
there were about 5,000 swarming Griffin avenue in the 
flat, on opening day. And the word cosmopolitan but 
poorly expresses the nature of the conglomerate mixture 
of nationality and kindred tongues, of that great throng 
as it moved up and down the rows of saloons and res- 
taurants like a herd of wild steers in a small corral. 

Hotels, restaurants, saloons, stores and wagon-yards 
did a thriving business and were crowded beyond their ca- 
pacity, and any old place was good enough if it afforded 
room to spread a pair of blankets. 


Nothing like this convention had ever been conceived, 
much less actually announced to take place on the fron- 
tier. And it had been looked forward to somewhat 
in the spirit that takes possession of children as they 
anticipate the coming of Christmas. Hundreds of miles 
had been traveled and hundreds of dollars saved up for 
the occasion. And now there was to be a glorious real- 
ization of their fondest anticipations, and an event to look 
back to for many years to come. 

No statesman or lawyer had planned the formation of 
an association. It was to be a convention of, by and for 
the cattlemen of Northwest Texas, growing out of the 
conditions on the range that demanded cooperation of 
mutual interests. Therefore, it commanded the presence 
of delegates from all the ranches within 500 miles. 

But it is not with the business end of this convention, 
but of the incidents concomitant thereof, that commands 
our attention. 

Tis the escapades of cowboy life under high pressure 
that are worthy of note on this occasion. For if the 
innate cussedness aroused by one cowboy full of 
bad whisky could set a town by the ears, how much 
more to encounter them by the hundreds? 

There was Bland and Peeler from the Millet ranch, 
Hemphill and Biggs from the Jim Reed ranch, Tucker 
and Batts from the Lynch ranch, Gentry and Jeffrys 
from the Matthews ranch, Glen and Phil Reynolds from 
the Reynolds Brothers ranch, Jim and Cal Greer from 
the Greer's ranch, and space forbids the mention of sev- 
eral hundred more cowboys from outlying ranches who 
were not delegates. 

These boys were there to have the time of their lives, 
while the bosses attended to business, and a rip-rousing 
old time they had, too. 


Everything was wide open and the whisky tanks full. 
If you didn't waltz up to the counter and chalk your name 
down for a drink of your favorite brand, it was your own 
fault and there was no kick coming. 

Sheriff Green Simpson and his deputies, Henry Her- 
ron and Marshal Dave Barker, were on hand 'tis true, 
but unless a fellow became too reckless with his shoot- 
ing-irons, they never interfered with the festivities. 

It was late in the evening of the first day. The con- 
vention had adjourned, after electing Kit Carter, presi- 
dent and Jim Loving, secretary and treasurer. The 
crowds surged around the hotels and restaurants, where 
the fumes of baked meat and coffee sent forth tempting 
odors. Many were already in that mellow state that 
comes from imbibing too much. Consequently, the con- 
versation was hilarious and more forcible than elegant. 

As darkness approached the whole avenue burst forth 
in a flood of light from the open windows and doors. 

The time for merry-making had come. And the boys 
who knew how to make merry were on hand to see that 
the fun was fast and furious. 

It was well enough to eat baked beef and drink coffee 
as a necessity, but throats used to alkali dust and gip 
water craved the cheering spirits sold over the bars — 
"Drink'r down, boys ; drink'r down." 

One by one the older and wiser heads became dizzy 
and drowsy and they rolled up in their blankets. But not 
so with those wild and reckless cusses from "Bitter 
creek." Their blood was warm and heads hot, and the 
devil spurred them on to all kinds of mischief. A grand 
rush was made for the dance halls, and the atmosphere 
soon became charged with tobacco smoke and fumes of 

As the night advanced the spirit of recklessness grew, 


and men dared to do those things that in their saner mo- 
ments would have been called foolhardy. 

The front room of the old Adobe saloon was crowded 
to suffocation when Zeno Hemphill jumped upon the 
counter and dared Peeler to help "shoot the lights out." 
And the fusillade that followed soon "doused the glims." 
Considerable confusion followed in the dark, and several 
were slightly wounded by stray bullets. But by the time 
Jack Casey and Mike O'Brien, the proprietors, had pro- 
cured new lamps, the crowd had surged into the street 
on their way to Dick Jones' saloon, shooting right and 
left as they advanced up the avenue. 

And so the night wore away, and the morning's sun 
peeped o'er the eastern brakes and shot a shaft of light 
along Griffin avenue, revealing bunches of cowboys 
sleeping off their stupor under the awnings in front of 
the business houses. 

The second day was full of stirring incidents that at 
times almost amounted to a riot. 

One of the most exciting events was between a local 
sport named Mike Harrity and Zeno Hemphill, relative 
to whether a "bronco buster" could ride a three-year-old 
steer as easily as an unbroken mustang. 

Zeno claimed he could ride anything that wore hair. 
Mike bet him $50 that he could not ride a steer. The 
money was put up in Harve Biggs' hands and two men 
were sent out to bring in a bunch of cattle from which 
to select the animal. They were gone about an hour and 
reported a bunch in T. E. Jackson's corral. 

Bill Hitson and Jim Reed were selected as a commit- 
tee to pick out the steer. The crowd repaired to the cor- 
ral and the committee selected a large brindle three years 
old. Two of the boys roped him, turned the balance of 
the bunch loose, and led the wild, cavorting bovine out 


in the open prairie, threw him down, tied and blindfold- 
ed him and a saddle was cinched on his back when he 
arose to his feet. Blindfolding always had the effect of 
keeping an animal quiet until it could be saddled and 
bridled. And this proved no exception, for the steer 
stood and trembled until the saddle was fastened. The 
lassoes were removed, and two boys held him by the 
horns and nose until Zeno mounted, then jerking the 
blinds off turned him loose. 

Did you ever see a man attempt to ride a wild, un- 
tamed steer? No? Then you can have no conception 
of the real performance. 

Wild-eyed, snorting and bellowing at every jump, that 
untamed steer pitched stiff-legged down the trail, hump- 
ing and hunching his back until the saddle slid back to 
his hips while Zeno was holding on to the horns for dear 
life. Finally the saddle worked back over his tail and 
went rolling with Zeno into the dust. 

Both Zeno and Harrity claimed the stakes, and a first- 
class shooting bee came near being pulled off. But 
friends surrounded the angry combatants, and a com- 
promise was agreed to, giving Zeno half of the stakes. 

The evening and the night following was a repetition' 
of the day and night before, except the arrest of Hemp- 
hill, which came near bringing on a bloody conflict be- 
tween the cowboys and the officers. 

Hemphill was making a rough house in Dick Jones' 
saloon, and it was reported to the officers that a pre- 
concerted movement was on foot to start a row and kill 
the officers in the conflict. The plan unfolded to the 
sheriff was, that Zeno would start a rough house, and 
when the officers came the Millet outfit, led by Peeler, 
would do the rest. 

Zeno performed his stunt all right, but the two depu- 

Shooting the Lights Out. (Page 291.) 


ties nabbed him before the Millet outfit could come to 
his rescue, though he fought like a savage, and the depu- 
ties were compelled to knock him down several times 
with their six-shooters before they could drag him to the 
calaboose. In the meantime Peeler called his men and they 
came running after the officers with their pistols in their 
hands. The deputies, joined by the sheriff, arrived at 
the calaboose just in time to throw Zeno inside and face 
the mob. Pointing their six-shooters at the men the of- 
ficers prepared to give them battle, but Captain Millet 
came up and ordered Peeler to desist. 

Horrifying Experience of James A. Brock 

James A. Brock was head clerk in the post trader's 
store, within the military reservation on the hill over- 
looking the Flat. A man named Hickey obtained the 
concession from the commander of the post to run the 
store. It was a semi-military institution, patronized by 
soldiers and civilians alike. A "canteen" was run in con- 
nection with the establishment, furnishing amusement 
and drinks to the customers. Ranchmen and buffalo 
hunters bought supplies from this store, and it became 
a very live business place. 

Young Brock was paid a good salary, and conceived 
the idea of starting a ranch on Foyle creek, about six 
miles west of the fort. Energetic and determined in the 
execution of his plans, he hired an old negro by the name 
of Nick Williams to build a cabin and make the neces- 
sary improvements to comply with the State law govern- 
ing the taking up of land by the actual settler. Nick 
proved to be a faithful hired man, and soon transformed 
the little valley into a model ranch. 

Brock often visited the ranch and remained over night 
to perfect plans with Nick, who, under instructions, hired 


two more negro men to assist him. Brock then began to 
purchase a few head of stock cattle from time to time, 
and started the J-A-B brand. By the strictest economy 
and sharp trading his ranch flourished and showed signs 
of prosperity. 

Not content with plodding along waiting for the nat- 
ural increase in the old beaten track with his longhorns, 
Brock sent an order back to his old home at Oberlin, 
Ohio, for a dozen shorthorn Durham cows and two 
registered bulls; and to make sure that they would be 
well cared for en route, he requested his cousin, Frank 
Lassiter, to travel with them to Dallas, the terminal of 
the road, then drive them through by easy stages to Foyle 

Nick and one of the negro men took a wagon loaded 
with supplies and met Lassiter at Dallas, the nearest rail- 
road point. In due time the outfit arrived at the Foyle 
creek ranch with the shorthorns. 

And from that moment the troubles of James A. Brock 
began, that came near sacrificing his life to the vengeance 
of the Vigilance Committee, and resulted in the loss of 
all his money and property, besides causing him to spend 
years wandering in search of the author of his misery. 

Through the generous ofifer of a half interest in the 
cattle and the ranch, Brock induced his cousin, Frank 
Lassiter, to remain and take charge of the property, and 
Brock agreed to pay Nick's salary and share the expenses 
of keeping up the ranch and improving the cattle. 

Everything moved along smoothly until the time came 
to attend the fall round-ups. There were only a small 
number of the Brock cattle on the range, and Frank 
Lassiter attended the round-ups alone, leading a pack- 
horse and carrying his blankets and the necessary "grub" 
from place to place. 


One morning Lassiter left the ranch on Foyle creek 
and struck out across the prairie in the direction of Fort 
Phantom Hill, to attend a round-up at Mode Johnson's 
ranch. That was the last time he was seen for a period 
of five years. The next evening old Nick discovered the 
pack-horse grazing on the home range. For several 
days a searching party rode the prairie looking for 
traces of Lassiter, but nothing was discovered to throw 
any light on the mystery. 

In the meantime enemies of Brock were busy circulat- 
ing a rumor of foul play, reporting a conspiracy between 
Brock and Nick to kill Lassiter and secure all the prop- 
erty. The continued absence of Lassiter gave credence 
to this rumor, and Brock and Nick were arrested and 
held on suspicion. Hot-heads among the Vigilantes were 
determined to hang them at once, but the more conserva- 
tive members counseled to wait until the remains of Las- 
siter were found, or at least some evidence of foul play, 
arguing that it would be a dangerous precedent to hang 
the prisoners without proof of their guilt. 

During the incarceration of Brock and Nick, communi- 
cation was opened with Brock's relatives in Ohio. Frank 
Lassiter's brother Ed and wife came to Texas and took 
possession of the Foyle creek ranch, and began to aid 
the enemies of Brock to push the prosecutions, going so 
far as to aid them to take old Nick away from the guards 
and swing him to a tree three times, in an effort to make 
him fasten the guilt upon Brock and save himself. But 
the faithful old negro refused to lie. 

Knowing the desperate efforts being made to destroy 
him, Brock communicated with his father and secured 
the services of an eminent lawyer, who, in company with 
Brock's brother, came to Albany to defend him. As soon 
as the lawyer arrived he sued out a writ of habeas corpus 


and Brock and Nick were released on $5,000 and $3,000 

As soon as they were released, Brock, who became 
convinced during his incarceration that it was a conspiracy 
hatched up by the Lassiters to swindle him out of his 
property, hired a detective and began to search for Frank 
Lassiter who he believed was alive and in hiding. 

This was the beginning of a series of remarkable in- 
cidents, covering a period of five years, wherein James 
A. Brock persistently carried on a systematic search for 
Frank Lassiter. When he exhausted his money sending 
out descriptions and photographs, paying detectives and 
other necessary expenses, he would go to work and save 
his means until he secured sufficient funds to enable him 
to once more start on the trail of the missing man. The 
grand jury failed to secure any evidence to indict Brock, 
but this did not influence him in prosecuting his search. 

Brock traced one clue after another, only to be disap- 

After the first twelve months people lost interest in 
the mystery, and many believed Brock was losing his 
mind through continually brooding over the affair. But 
he never gave up the search, following clue after clue 
into the Indian Territory, New Mexico, and Arizona, re- 
turning to Texas; then into Arkansas, where a man an- 
swering the description of Lassiter was located at the 
town of Bentonville ; and, notwithstanding he wore a full 
beard and was otherwise changed, Brock recognized him. 

Lassiter was living under the assumed name of Lay- 
cock, and had lived in Bentonville for three years prior 
to his discovery by Brock. He had learned the pottery 
business, married the widow of the proprietor, and was 
carrying on the business. 

When confronted by Brock, Lassiter denied his iden- 


"Frank Lassiter, I know you," said Brock. "For some 
reason you disappeared from the ranch on Foyle creek, 
leaving the impression that you were murdered. Some 
one in your interest cast suspicion on me, and I came 
near being hanged without judge or jury by the Vigi- 
lantes. If it had not been for Uncle Joe Matthews and 
Judge J. C. Lynch, I and that faithful old negro, Nick, 
would have swung into eternity. Subsequent events led 
me to believe that it was a conspiracy between you and 
Ed to deprive me of life and property. You had neither 
respect for our relationship or gratitude for my gener- 
osity for giving you a partnership interest in the ranch." 

"You are mistaken, sir my name is not Lassiter," said 
the assumed Mr. Laycock. "I never saw you before." 

"Oh, yes, you know me, Frank Lassiter, and I am go- 
ing to take you back to Ohio and have you identified. 
Officer," turning to the detective, "lift his hat and you 
will find an ell-shaped scar over his right eye near the 

The officer lifted the hat, revealing the scar, as de- 

"Now, Lassiter," said Brock, "if you don't want a 
scene in the presence of your wife, Detective Ward will 
accompany you to the house while you pack up a grip 
and make any excuse you care to for your absence for 
the next week or ten days." 

During their absence in Lassiter's residence, Brock 
sauntered through the pottery, where, from appearance, 
Lassiter was doing a prosperous business. 

When they returned the three went to the depot in time 
to catch a northbound train. 

When seated in the smoking room of the sleeper, 
Lassiter looked at Brock a few minutes, as if debating a 
problem in his mind. 


"Brock, there is no use longer denying my name. I 
will be recognized by the people in Oberlin when we ar- 
rive. Now, I have a remarkable story to tell you; be- 
lieve it or not, as you please. But, strange as it may 
sound to you, it is nevertheless true. 

"When I left the ranch on Foyle creek, five years ago, 
with the pack horse, bound for Mode Johnson's ranch, 
I never dreamed of going away and leaving things in a 
muddle. But, while descending the rocky trail leading 
to Salt Creek valley, my horse stumbled, throwing me 
over his head. I fell head foremost into a pile of rocks 
and was knocked senseless ; must have sustained a frac- 
ture of my skull, for I awoke in a dazed condition, with- 
out any knowledge of my surroundings or who I was. 
In this condition I managed to crawl upon my horse and 
lapsed into a semi-conscious condition. As you well 
know, the horse that I was riding was purchased from 
a cow puncher returning from Kansas, who traded for 
the animal at Venita in the territory. I suppose that 
accounts for the direction he traveled with me. 

"From that time on, for two years, I lost all remem- 
brance of my past life. I could neither tell my name or 
where I had lived. 

"The same evening of the accident my horse stopped 
in front of a ranch house, and I indistinctly remember 
eating supper, staying all night and leaving after break- 
fast the next morning. But whose ranch and where it 
was I have no idea. In this manner, from day to day, the 
horse made his way to his old range in the territory. 

"I don't know how I drifted to the coal mines at Mc- 
Allister, but I labored at the coal screens six months, 
answering to the name of Laycock, because some of the 
miners said I looked like a brother of a man by that name 
who was killed before I arrived. Then I have no recol- 


lection of my wanderings until I arrived in Bentonville. 
I remember one morning of applying for work, and be- 
gan driving a horse to a mud mill. About this time my 
mind began to clear, but I was still unable to recall the 
past. I began to take an interest in my occupation, and 
extended my observations to other parts of the pottery 
business. And when a better place became vacant, I ap- 
plied and was promoted along the line until I became the 
manager. A few months later, Mr. Watkins, the pro- 
prietor, died. His widow insisted on me taking entire 
control of the plant. Our business relations ripened into 
affection and we were married after the expiration of 
twelve months. I never suspected that I was Frank 
Lassiter until I saw my portrait in the papers and read 
the description. Then, not knowing what I was accused 
of and how serious the consequences might be, I was 
afraid to communicate with you. Now, Brock, this is 
the truth, so help me God." 

"Well, I believe you, Frank," said Brock, "and if you 
will go to Oberlin and be identified, so that my name can 
be cleared from all suspicion, I am not inclined to prose- 
cute you, notwithstanding all the humiliation and money 
it has cost me." 

"I agree to do so," said Lassiter, "because it is only 
justice to you. And if I had possessed the moral courage 
to have faced exposure and prosecution, you would have 
been vindicated long ago. I never had any communica- 
tion with Ed, consequently had no knowledge of the part 
he played in the game." 

"Well," replied Brock, "I suppose he saw a chance to 
secure the ranch." 

"What became of Ed ?" 

"He died on the ranch and his wife shipped his remains 
back to Ohio." 


When the trio arrived at Oberlin, Frank Lassiter was 
identified by his relatives and all his old associates, com- 
pletely vindicating James A. Brock. After a few days, 
during the time they remained, Lassiter made amends by 
deeding back to Brock all of his interest in the Foyle 
creek ranch, then returned to his home in Bentonville. 

Brock was congratulated and returned to Texas with 
Lassiter's confession and the affidavits of identification 
signed by the county officials and prominent citizens, as 
proof of his innocence. 

After disposing of the Foyle creek ranch, he settled 
in El Paso, where he engaged in the real estate business 
and prospered. 

Old Nick was not forgotten, and was substantially re- 
warded by Brock, and found employment with a large 
ranch owner. 

And thus ended one of the most peculiar chains of cir- 
cumstances that ever threatened the life of an early set- 
tler on the frontier. 

Kentuck was one of the few who always believed in 
Brock's innocence during the darkest hours of his perse- 
cution, and assisted him in every way possible to trace 
the missing Lassiter. 



With gun, and steel, and. flaming torch, and blood-curdling yell; 
White men and Red men, in deadly conflict met, fought and fell. 

The writer makes no claim that the incidents under 
this head have historic value, but they are nevertheless 
based upon facts related by trustworthy people, who 
took an active part in the events, or were contempora- 
neous neighbors with those who did. 

Kentuck, with a propensity for delving into the past, 
found ample opportunity listening to the old settlers 
whenever they assembled for business or pleasure. 

These old veteran frontiersmen during their leisure 
moments related many exciting events that have never 
been published in song or story by fiction writers. 

But it would require several volumes larger than this 
to contain the facts relative to the almost continuous war- 
fare between the settlers and the Indians. 

One of the strange characteristics of the Comanches, 
Apaches, Kiowas and other Indians that lived on the 
plains was that their raids were confined to daylight or 
moonlight operations, when they could see as well as be 
seen by the settlers. And even then they refused to fol- 
low the retreating whites into a thicket or grove, fearing 
an ambuscade. Many a fleeing pioneer owed his life to 
the friendly shelter of the underbrush along the margin 
of a stream, or the thickets among the mountain breaks. 



This was so well understood by the early settlers that 
their houses were built in close proximity to the rough 
breaks and mountain streams that afforded excellent pro- 
tection in a raid. 

And now, reader, from a series of notes compiled by 
Kentuck during those days, and from the best data and 
information obtained from all sources at his command, 
the writer of this volume will attempt to set before you 
in brief a series of battles, raids and thrilling events 
in the history of Northwest Texas. 

Due credit is given to other writers, who were fortunate 
to secure better data than the writer could, of the great 
battles of Antelope hills and the Adobe Walls, describing 
heroism of individuals who participated in those conflicts. 
But at the same time the writer will interpolate whenever 
he finds omissions or irregularities in the recitals that 
can be amended and give a more satisfactory retrospect. 

Joe Loving and Jim Scott's Fight with 
the comanches 

There can be no doubt that every story told around 
the camp fire had its foundation laid in facts, but time, 
the great magnifier, and the propensity for hero worship, 
always exaggerates the prowess of men who take part in 
the exciting dramas that are enacted on the frontier, to 
the extent of painting graphic pictures in melodramatic 

Therefore, it will be more interesting reading to give 
the story-teller license for his emotions and allowance 
for supplying the missing links in the chain of circum- 
stances that he has forgotten. Especially when he tells 
the oft repeated story of Indian forays, the temptation 
to enlarge must be forgiven. 

With this understanding the writer submits the stories 


that Kentuck heard in the cow camps and around the 
firesides of the settlers. 

During the long winter evenings the bunk house where 
the cow punchers lounged away the dull hours was nat- 
urally the place where one could hear the hair-raising 
stories of Indian raids. 

Cal Greer crossed the Staked plains with a herd in 
the summer of 1869, following closely the trail made by 
Joe Loving and Charles Goodnight the previous season, 
when they were under contract to deliver 4,000 head to 
the Navajo Indian agency at Fort Sumner. 

Therefore, Greer was well informed about the des- 
perate fight at Loving's Bend on the Pecos, between Joe 
Loving and Jim Scott and a fierce band of Comanches. 

Joe Loving was one of the old-time cattle men who 
staked his life on the hazard of the frontier and lost 

And on this occasion he was unusually alert in pushing 
the herds across the plains. It was a ninety-mile drive 
without water. It was three nights and four days from 
the time they left the edge of the plains until they arrived 
on the Pecos and drove up the valley in the direction of 

Realizing that they were in the hostile Indian coun- 
try, every precaution was used to prevent an ambush. 
Four days out from the Horsehead crossing Loving de- 
cided to go on ahead of the herds and make arrangements 
for the delivery of the cattle. 

Picking out Jim Scott to accompany him, they started 
after dark and rode all night, lying in concealment dur- 
ing the day. This plan was followed until the morning 
of the third day when they decided to push on to the hills 
above the mouth of Dark canyon. They were then about 
fifteen miles below where the town of Carlsbad, in New 
Mexico, now stands. 


The country was a perfect level, with an unobstructed 
view for miles. Loving and Scott were riding in the 
direction of a low, flat hill when they discovered a band 
of Comanches charging down upon them. 

In their efforts to reach the hill for protection Loving 
was shot in the thigh and his horse killed. Fortunately 
this happened on the edge of a buffalo wallow, and Lov- 
ing was pitched into it. Jom Scott hastily dismounted 
and began firing his Henry rifle at the approaching In- 
dians. Two Comanches were killed and this checked the 

The Indians drew back out of range of Scott's fire 
for a few moments, giving him a chance to tie his hand- 
kerchief around Loving's wound. 

The siege was kept up during the remainder of the 
day, but the concentrated fire of Loving and Scott was 
too hot for the Comanches. They raced around the 
cattle men several times, shooting from beneath their 
ponies' necks, but the fire from the buffalo wallow 
compelled them to retire. Scott killed his own horse to 
make their breastworks more secure. Three Indians 
were wounded and six horses killed in the last charge 
made on the buffalo wallow. 

As soon as it was dark enough to conceal their move- 
ments, Loving and Scott, relying on the traditional tac- 
tics of the Indians of awaiting daylight before renewing 
the attack, crawled several hundred yards to the Pecos 

Finding a place where they could slide down the steep 
bank, they lost no time in slaking their thirst and hunt- 
ing a place of concealment. This they found in a deep 
cave cut by the swift water during the flood tide. The 
steep bank above afforded protection, compelling the In- 
dians to cross the river before renewing the attack. 


At daylight the next morning the Indians followed the 
trail made by Loving and Scott to the bank of the river, 
and two of them were killed before they discovered where 
the cattlemen were concealed. 

During the entire day the Indians used all of their 
methods of warfare to dislodge them, but found the op- 
posite bank too exposed to a direct fire to permit of an 
attack. For a while the Indians threw burning bushes 
over the bank in an attempt to smoke them out, but this 
proved a failure and they resolved to starve them out. 

In the meantime Loving was suffering from his wound 
and they were out of "grub." This forced Scott to agree 
to try to escape during the second night and go back 
down the trail to meet Goodnight's outfit and secure as- 

As soon as it was dark enough to elude detection, 
Scott pulled off his clothes and waded out into the stream 
and moved silently down the river, about one-half mile 
before attempting to climb the bank. 

He was on the trail two nights and one day without 
resting until he fell from weakness and went off into a 
troubled sleep. Bill Scott, who was out hunting stray 
ponies, found Jim and thought that he was dead, but 
after shaking, succeeded in arousing him. Taking Jim 
up behind him, Bill galloped his horse back to camp, and 
Goodnight ordered six men to saddle up their broncos 
and they started out to rescue Loving. 

The next morning after Scott's departure Loving had 
a close call, and had to keep up a continuous firing to 
prevent the Comanches from capturing him. 

Realizing that it would be impossible for him to stand 
them off another day, he resolved to escape. 

Fortunately, though he did not know it, the Comanches 
abandoned the fight. Painfully he floated down the river 


a few hundred yards and crawled up the bank, and, 
though weak and starving, dragged himself along the 
rough trail to a bend in the river, where he swooned from 
loss of blood. 

Here Goodnight found him and hired a Mexican outfit 
with a cart to haul him to Fort Sumner. 

When they arrived at the post the surgeon was on a 
scout with a squadron of cavalry and it became necessary 
to send a rider to Las Vegas to secure a surgeon, 130 
miles distant. 

Scott Moore performed the feat, notwithstanding 
the country was alive with hostile Indians, covering 260 
miles in thirty hours, but the amputation of the leg did 
not save Loving, and he died a few minutes after the 

The Battle of Antelope Hills 

Although the battle of Antelope hills was fought sev- 
enteen years anterior to the time that Kentuck arrived 
on the frontier, the details were fresh in the memory of 
the Tonkawa warriors who took part in the sanguinary 

And notwithstanding it has been exploited by writers 
heretofore, by reason of it being one of the most im- 
portant battles fought in Northwest Texas, it properly be- 
longs at the head of the list of this series. 

Colonel Buck Berry, though he did not participate in 
the battle, and at the time was assigned to other duties, 
was afterward associated with both Col. John S. Ford 
and Capt. S. P. Ross, Sr., who were in command on this 
memorable occasion. 

This was the first great battle that the Tonkawas par- 
ticipated in since their terrible conflict with the allied 


The scenery on the South Canadian at the foot of the 
Antelope hills was rough and almost inaccessible. And 
this was the home of the fierce Comanches when not raid- 
ing the frontier settlements. 

When pursued by the government troops or the Texas' 
rangers they invariably retreated to this refuge, where 
they felt secure from attack, by reason of the natural 
fortifications and the difficulties presented to an invading 

It was the spring of 1858 after returning from a very 
successful raid that the Comanches rendezvoused in their 
favorite retreat. 

During this period the Comanches were led by their 
great chief, Pohebits Quasho, better known as "Iron 
Jacket," because he wore a coat of mail beneath his hunt- 
ing shirt, which rendered him safe from the arrows and 
rifle balls of his foes. Where the old chief secured this 
coat of mail was a mystery, though some writers claim 
that it was an heirloom captured from the Spanish in- 
vaders by "Iron Jacket's" father. Be that as it may, no 
doubt it gave him great power over his tribe, more than 
had ever been exercised by any other chief who preced- 
ed him. 

"Iron Jacket" was not only the head chief, but also 
the great medicine man and prophet of his superstitious 
tribe, who were ignorant of the real cause of his immun- 
ity from death in battle. 

He was idolized like some heathen god whose charmed 
life belonged to the supernatural power of the Great 

The sub-chief, or second in command of the Co- 
manches, was Peta Nocona, the son of "Iron Jacket," 
and husband of Cynthia Ann Parker, a white girl cap- 
tured at Parker's Fort in the year 1836. (Quanah 


Parker, now chief of the Comanche Nation, is the son of 
Peta and Cynthia Ann.) 

It was during this year of 1858 that the Comanches 
became so troublesome to the white settlers on the bor- 
der, especially along the Brazos and its tributaries, that 
the State government determined to follow them to their 
stronghold in the Antelope hills, and if possible drive 
them out, capture their women and ponies and destroy 
their tepees. 

For this purpose Col. John S. Ford was directed by 
the government to cooperate, make up an expedition, fol- 
low up the raiders and make a war of extermination on 
the "red devils, " as the settlers called them. 

According to data published by Col. Ben. C. Stewart, 
of Galveston, this expedition, made up of soldiers, rang- 
ers, settlers and a band of Tonkawa scouts under Chief 
Placido, started for Antelope hills about May 1st, Capt. 
S. P. Ross second in command. 

The incidents of this march to the Canadian, and the 
skirmishes with the straggling bands en route are not 
worth the space required in the telling. 

About a week after the command began the march 
the Tonkawa scouts discovered the main body of Co- 
manches near the foothills of the mountain range. 

Contrary to their usual vigilance, the Comanches were 
caught napping, and did not know of the approach of 
Ford's command until the day of the battle, notwithstand- 
ing they were camped within a few miles of the strong- 
hold the day previous. 

Consequently, a complete surprise was sprung about 
daylight, and before sunrise a fierce battle was being 

The best account ever published of this battle, when 
the famous "Iron Jacket" met his death and caused a 


panic among his followers, was written by Victor M. 
Rose, at one time connected with the Victoria Advocate, 
published at Victoria, Texas. The writer of this volume 
esteems it a great privilege to reproduce Rose's article 
in this connection : 

"The panorama thus presented to the rangers," writes 
Rose, "was beautiful in the extreme, and their pent-up 
enthusiasm found vent in a shout of exultation, which 
was speedily suppressed by Colonel Ford. Just at this 
moment a solitary Comanche was descried riding south- 
ward, evidently heading for the village that Placido had 
so recently destroyed. He was wholly unconscious of 
the presence of the enemy. Instant pursuit was now 
made. He turned and fled at full speed toward the main 
camp across the Canadian, closely followed by the rang- 
ers. He dashed across the stream and thus revealed to 
his pursuers a safe ford across the miry and almost im- 
passable river. He rushed into the village beyond, sound- 
ing the note of alarm, and soon the Comanche warriors 
formed a bold front of battle between their women and 
children and the rangers. After a few minutes, forming 
a line of battle, both sides were arrayed in full force. 
The friendly Indians were placed on the right, and thrown 
a little forward. Colonel Ford's object was to deceive 
the Comanches as to the character of the attacking force 
and as to the quality of the arms possessed. Pohebits 
Quasho, arrayed in all of his gaudy trappings, coat of 
mail, shield, bow and lance, completed by a headdress 
decorated with feathers and long red flannel streamers, 
and besmeared with war paint, gayly dashed about on his 
war horse, midway between the opposing lines, deliver- 
ing taunts and challenges to the whites. As the old chief 
dashed to and fro a number of rifles were discharged at him 
at point blank range without any effect whatever, which 


seeming immunity from death encouraged his warriors 
greatly and induced some of the more superstitious among 
the rangers to inquire within themselves if it were pos- 
sible that old 'Iron Jacket' really bore a charmed life. 
Followed by a few of his braves he now bore down upon 
the rangers, described a few circles, gave a few nec- 
romantic puffs with his breath and let fly several arrows 
at Colonel Ford, Captain Ross and Chief Placido receiv- 
ing their fire without harm. But as he approached the 
line of Tonkawas a rifle ball directed by the steady nerve 
and unerring eye of one of their number, Jim Pockmark, 
brought the 'Big Medicine' to the dust. 

"The shot was a mortal one. The fallen chief was in- 
stantly surrounded by his braves, but his spirit had 
winged its flight to the happy hunting grounds. These 
incidents occupied but a short time, when the order to 
charge was given, and then ensued one of the grandest 
assaults ever made against the Comanches. The en- 
thusiastic shouts of the rangers and the triumphant yell 
of their red allies greeted the welcome order. It was re- 
sponded to by the defiant war whoop of the Comanches, 
and in these virgin hills, remote from civilization, the 
saturnalia of battle was inaugurated. The shout of en- 
raged combatants, the wail of women, the piteous cries 
of terrified children, the howling of frightened dogs, 
the deadly reports of rifle and revolver, constituted a dis- 
cordant confusion of infernal noise. The conflict was 
short and sharp. A charge, a momentary exchange of 
rifle and arrow shots, the heartrending wail of discom- 
fiture and dismay, and the beaten Comanches abandoned 
their lodges and camp to the victors and began a dis- 
orderly retreat. But sufficient method was observed to 
take advantage of each grove of timber, each hill and 
ravine, to make a stand against their pursuers, and thus 


enable the women and children to make their escape. 
The tumult of battle now diverged from the common 
center like the spokes of a wheel, and continued for sev- 
eral hours, gradually growing fainter, as the pursuit dis- 
appeared in the distance. 

"Another band of Comanche braves numbering 500, 
under command of the noted chief, Peta Nocona, distant 
ten miles from the scene of the first engagement, heard 
the sounds of firing and were soon on the way to the re- 
lief of their comrades. About 1 o'clock in the afternoon, 
as the last of the Texas rangers returned from the pur- 
suit of the band of Pohebits Quasho, they found the force 
under Colonel Ford arrayed in line of battle, and on in- 
quiry as to the cause, Colonel Ford, pointing to the hills, 
replied : 'Look there and you will see.' A glance in that 
direction disclosed a force of 500 Comanches drawn up 
in line of battle. Colonel Ford, with 221 men, had fought 
400 Comanches, and now he was confronted by a much 
stronger force fresh from their village higher up the Ca- 
nadian. They had come to drive the palefaces and their 
hated copper-colored allies from the captured camp, to 
rescue prisoners and retake over 400 horses and a large 
amount of plunder. They did not fancy the defiant note 
of preparation awaiting them in the valley, however, and 
were waiting to avail themselves of some incautious 
movement on the part of the rangers, when the wily Peta 
Nocona with his force would spring like a lion from his 
lair, and with one combined and desperate effort swoop 
down and annihilate the enemy. But his antagonist was 
a soldier of too much sagacity to allow any advantage to 
a vigilant foe. The two forces remained thus, contem- 
plating each other for over an hour, during which time a 
series of operations ensued between single combatants, 
illustrative of the Indian mode of warfare and the marked 


difference between the nomadic Comanches and the Ton- 
kawas. The Tonkawas took advantage of ravines, trees 
and other natural objects. Their arms were rifles and 
revolvers. The Comanches came to the attack with shield, 
bow and lance, mounted on gaily caparisoned, prancing 
steeds, and flaunting feathers and all the gorgeous trap- 
pings incident to savage display and pomp. They were 
probably the most expert equestrians in the world. A 
Comanche warrior would gaily canter to a point halfway 
between the opposing lines, yell a defiant war whoop and 
shake his shield. This was a challenge to single combat. 
''Several of the friendly Indians who accepted such 
challenges were placed hors de combat by their more ex- 
pert adversaries, and in consequence Colonel Ford or- 
dered them to decline the savage banters, much to the dis- 
satisfaction of Placido, the Tonkawa chief, who had con- 
ducted himself throughout the series of engagements 
with the bearing of a savage hero. 'In the combats,' said 
Colonel Ford, 'the mind of the spectator was vividly car- 
ried back to the days of chivalry, the jousts and tourna- 
ments of knights, and to the concomitants of those scenic 
exhibitions of gallantry. The feats of horsemanship 
were splendid, the lance and shield were used with great 
dexterity, and the whole performance was a novel show 
to civilized man.' Colonel Ford now ordered Placido 
with a part of his warriors to advance in the direction 
of the enemy, and, if possible, to draw them into the val- 
ley, so as to afford the rangers an opportunity to charge 
them. This had the desired effect, and the rangers were 
ready to made a charge, when it was discovered that the 
friendly Indians had removed the white bandages from 
their heads because they served as a target for the Co- 
manches. Consequently, the rangers were unable to dis- 
tinguish friends from foes. This necessitated the entire 


withdrawal of the Indians. The Comanches witnessed these 
preparations and now commenced to recoil. The rang- 
ers advanced; the trot, the gallop, the headlong charge 
followed in rapid succession. Lieutenant Nelson made a 
skillful movement and struck the enemy's flank. The 
Comanches' line was broken. A running fight now en- 
sued for three or four miles. The enemy was driven 
back wherever he made a stand. The most determined 
resistance was made in a timbered ravine. Here one of 
Placido's warriors was killed, and one of the rangers, 
young George W. Paschal, wounded. The Comanches 
left some dead on the field and had several wounded. 
After routing them at this place the rangers continued 
to pursue them for some distance, intent upon taking the 
women and children prisoners ; But Peta Nocona, by the 
exercise of those commanding qualities which had often 
before signalized his conduct on the field, succeeded in 
covering the retreat, and thus allowed them to escape. 
It was now about 4 p. m., both horses and men were al- 
most entirely exhausted, and Colonel Ford ordered a 
halt and returned to the village. Brave old Placido and 
his warriors fought like demons. It was difficult to re- 
strain them, so anxious were they to wreak vengeance 
upon the Comanches. In all of these engagements sev- 
enty-five Comanches bit the dust. The loss of the rang- 
ers was small — two killed and six wounded. The trap- 
pings worn by Pohebits Quasho, or Tron Jacket,' the 
noted Comanche chief who was slain, consisting of lance, 
bow, shield, headdress and the celebrated coat of mail, 
were gathered up on the field and brought to Austin, 
where they were deposited by Colonel Ford in the old 
State capitol. Placido, the chief of the Tonkawas, fell a 
victim of the Comanche vengeance the latter part of the 
Civil war, being assassinated by them on the government 


reservation at Fort Sill. He had always been the friend 
of Texans, and rendered invaluable service to the early 
pioneers, by whom he was implicitly trusted." 

Several years rolled along the pathway of time after 
the sanguinary battle of Antelope hills before the wily 
Comanches recovered from the effects of their severe 
punishment at the hands of Colonel Ford's command. In 
the meantime their brave chief, Peta Nocona, seemed to 
be thirsting for revenge, and lost no opportunity to at- 
tack an isolated ranch house or kill a lone traveler. 

Encouraged by his success attending these raids, he 
grew bolder and bolder, until he started out with a picked 
band of red warriors on an extended raid upon the set- 
tlements along the Brazos and Red rivers, even going as 
far east as Jacksboro. 

During this raid the settlers lost large bunches of cat- 
tle and horses, besides the willful destruction of their 
houses and barns. 

It was during the closing years of the Civil war that 
Peta Nocona's band grew so dangerous that it threatened 
to depopulate the frontier of white settlers. 

Consequently, notwithstanding the scarcity of any kind 
of troops in Texas, the authorities at Austin saw the 
necessity and determined to send out an expedition 
against the Indians. For this purpose a squad of fifty 
Rangers were placed under the command of Lieutenant 
Sul P. Ross, with orders to secure the aid of the Ton- 
kawas and the settlers enroute, and take the trail of Peta 
Nocona's band, and either destroy them or drive them 
beyond the borders of the State. It matters not for the 
purposes of this story the exact date of Ross' expedition, 
for it is more with the results than the details that the 
readers are concerned. 

At this time Peta Nocona was in the zenith of his 


power, and was not only the chief of his own tribe, but 
by reason of his dashing bravery was often chosen to 
lead the allied forces of the Comanches, Apaches, Kiowas 
and Kickapoos. 

On the occasion of Ross' expedition that culminated in 
the battle of Soldier's Hole on Peas river, Chief Nocona 
was leading an unusually large band of warriors on a 
successful raid, laden with booty. He was also ac- 
companied by his wife and children ; Cynthia Ann Park- 
er, two sons, Pohibit and Quanah ; and a daughter, 
Prairie Flower. Quanah, the oldest son, was acting as 

Lieutenant Ross, schooled in all the tactics of frontier 
warfare, and acquainted with the habits of the Indians, 
avoided the trail and made a cross-country march ahead 
of Nocona's band, and lay in ambush near Soldier's 

The unsuspecting Indians, flushed with the spoils of 
the raid, rode down the peaceful valley to their doom. 

The rangers and Tonkawas opened up on them at close 
range and, though surprised and thrown into confusion, 
the Comanches fought like demons, with their gallant 
chief, Peta Nocona, in the thickest of the fight. But the 
superior equipment of the rangers and Tonks, armed 
with Spencer carbines, was too great an advantage to 
overcome with spears, bows and arrows, and a few old 
pistols and guns. 

At last when hope fled and the warriors began to re- 
treat, Peta Nocona tried to shield the women and chil- 
dren, but was killed while covering the retreat of his own 
wife and children. Quanah Parker and his brother 
Pohibit, mounted on fleet-footed ponies, escaped, but 
Cynthia Ann Parker and her daughter, Prairie Flower, 
were captured, notwithstanding Cynthia Ann made a 


brave resistance, and but for the fact that her blue eyes 
attracted the attention of Lieutenant Ross and pro- 
claimed her to be a white woman, she would have been 
killed by the Tonks. 

The fight terminated in a rout, and the fleeing Indians 
and pursuing rarlgers carried on a running fight for sev- 
eral miles. 

On the return of the expedition east, Cynthia Ann and 
her daughter, Prairie Flower, were sent to relatives in 
Parker county. And though everything was done to re- 
claim them, they longed for the wilds, where their rela- 
tives and companions among the Indians still lived. 
The beautiful Prairie Flower withered and died before 
she bloomed into womanhood. Cynthia Ann, though 
never entirely satisfied with her environments, gradually 
submitted to the influence of civilization. 

With the blood of heroes coursing through his veins, the 
young chief, Quanah Parker, was not content to remain 
idle, but thirsting for revenge he determined to organize 
a band of select warriors and avenge the deaths of his 
father, Peta Nocona, and grandfather, Pohebits Quasho. 
Young Quanah became chief by right of succession, and 
acknowledged leader by reason of his skill and bravery. 

And, dear reader, this is a place in the narrative where 
we can afford to pause a moment and moralize, and, if 
needs be, philosophize over the conditions that make us 
fiends or saints in the drama of life. 

According to his training and the lights set before him, 
Quanah Parker measured up to all the brave manhood 
that characterized his father and grandfather — that made 
them the ideal leaders of the tribe. 

And to-day, when the fleeting shadows are growing 
dim and the memory of the frontier is melting away, — 
Quanah Parker still lives, an interesting figure that links 


the past and present history of Northwest Texas, and 
many are the white as well as red men who are proud to 
do him honor. 

The Siege of Adobe Walls 

One evening Kentuck found old Sam Smith leaning 
back in his chair smoking a briar-root pipe near the en- 
trance to his wagon yard. 

"Say, Uncle Sam, I have heard that you took part in 
the battle of Adobe Walls." 

"Well, son, I reckon I was there." 

"Tell me about it, Uncle Sam." 

"Well, son, it was this way. Those durned Comanches 
had it in for the hunters, 'cause we were killing all the 
buffalo, and when a friend of Quanah Parker was killed 
by a hunter, the straw was put upon the camel's back, 
and the Indians went on the war path. 

"I was making headquarters at the Adobe Walls when 
the shindy came off. 

"You will better understand the situation when I ex- 
plain that during the beginning of the systematic killing 
of the buffalo for their hides, several firms in Fort 
Dodge, Kan., sent out an expedition consisting of a long 
wagon-train loaded with supplies with instruction to lo- 
cate in the center of the range. 

"Arriving on the upper Canadian in a valley making 
into the Staked plains, they found the ruins of an old mis- 
sion once occupied by the Spanish friars, where a trading 
post and a mission school stood in the days when Texas 
belonged to Mexico. 

"The walls of three buildings were in excellent pres- 
ervation, and without great expense were made to ac- 
commodate the agents of the Kansas firms to store their 
goods and open supply stores. 


'The two largest buildings were occupied by James 
Langton and Fred Leonard, and the smaller one taken 
possession of by Jim Hanrahan with a general store. 
Tom Keefe started a blacksmith shop in the old chapel. 
Fred Leonard also erected a stockade and ran a wagon 
yard and a mess house for the freighters and hunters. 

"This trading post grew into importance and soon be- 
came a center for traffic in hides. 

"Roving bands of Indians became troublesome and 
began to attack isolated camps, and rumors were afloat 
that a concentrated attack would be made on Adobe 
Walls. The medicine man of the Comanches was con- 
juring up 'good medicine,' that would allow the Indians 
to kill the hunters while they were sleeping. 

"Captain Arrington, with a squad of Texas rangers 
trailing a band of rustlers, passed through Adobe Walls 
and reported that the Comanches, Cheyennes and Arapa- 
hoes were concentrating for some purpose on the Deep 
creek of the Colorado river. 

"It was during the moonlight nights in June, 1874, 
and the hunters were so busy killing and drying hides 
that they paid no attention to the rumors. The store- 
keepers at Adobe Walls sometimes discussed the topic, 
but came to the conclusion that the Indians would confine 
their raids to outlying camps and not attack so formidable 
a place as Adobe Walls. 

"Consequently, they were not prepared when Quanah 
Parker led 900 painted warriors down the peaceful valley 
about two hours before daylight, and cautiously ap- 
proached Adobe Walls — nine hundred well-armed and 
mounted red men eager for the foray — perhaps the larg- 
est body of Indians that ever charged upon a white set- 

"With their front ranks formed into a phalanx and 


disguised to resemble a herd of buffalo, they hoped to 
approach without being discovered. The plan of attack 
was to take possession before the inmates could organize 
a defense. 

"Now, son, when you take into consideration the dis- 
parity of numbers between the small band of hunters and 
traders and the overwhelming force of warriors engaged 
in the ten days' siege of Adobe Walls, it was greater than 
the battle of Antelope hills. 

"But for an accident at Hanrahan's at 3 a. m., the plans 
of the wily foe would have succeeded. 

"A cottonwood beam used as a ridge pole in the end 
of Hanrahan's store began to give way with a crackling 
sound that awakened every one in the room. The danger 
of the dirt roof falling upon them forced the men to take 
steps to prop up the beam, and two of them mounted the 
roof and shoveled off the dirt to lighten the weight. 

"The stir at Hanrahan's aroused Tom Keefe, who 
raised himself upon his elbow and gazed at what he sup- 
posed to be a buffalo herd about one-fourth of a mile 
northwest. He watched them intently. 

"While he was looking, not satisfied in his mind that 
everything was all right, two men by the names of Wat- 
son and Ogg started out to hunt their horses, intending 
to get an early start for the range. 

"They, too, saw the supposed herd, but on closer ob- 
servation discovered that it was a band of Indians. They 
at once gave the alarm, and the Indians realizing that 
they could no longer keep up the deception, uttered their 
blood-curdling war whoop and charged down upon the 

"Tom Keefe, who was sleeping outside of his black- 
smith shop, ran to Langton's and aroused the inmates, 
and was admitted as a volley of arrows and bullets struck 
the wall of the building. 


"Watson and Ogg turned and ran to Hanrahan's and 
closed the door in time to escape death or capture. 

"When the sun arose that morning every house at 
Adobe Walls was in a state of siege, and the occupants 
fighting for their lives. 

"Quanah Parker with his warriors made a dash for 
Leonard's open door to force an entrance while I was 
making an effort to close it. 

"Some one pushed the barrel of a gun over my shoulder 
and fired, and the big Comanche chief fell off his horse 
with a bullet hole through his breast, which confused the 
warriors long enough for us to close the door. 

"The roar of the battle became incessant. The Indians 
had divided into bands, and were using every device 
known to savage warfare to dislodge the defenders. 

"There were ten men in Hanrahan's, five men and one 
woman in Langton's and twelve in Leonard's. Ike and 
Shorty Shadier were sleeping in their wagon, and were 
killed and scalped before they could escape. 

"Again and again, many times during that long hot 
day, the Indians tried to force the doors, but could not 
withstand the destructive fire of the buffalo guns. 

"Fortunately, the houses were so situated that the men 
could keep up a cross fire and concentrate on any given 
point. This gave them a decided advantage and proved 
very disconcerting to the Indians. 

"When Quanah was wounded and put out of commis- 
sion, the command devolved on the sub-chief, Stone Calf's 
nephew. Becoming exasperated at the many futile at- 
tempts to force an entrance, this brave young chief led 
fifty picked warriors in an attack on Hanrahan's house, 
and tried to break down the door by whirling and back- 
ing the weight of the ponies against it. But the withering 
fire from the Sharpe's rifles killed the chief and many of 
his braves, and forced the remainder to retreat. 


"The Indians then withdrew out of range and held a 
council. During this charge a man named Tyler was 
mortally wounded and died before the sun set. 

"A young Kiowa chief then took command and led 
sixty warriors in a fierce charge on Leonard's corral, 
but was killed when he dismounted to open the gate. Six 
braves fell across his body during this destructive firing. 

"The Indians then withdrew and kept up the battle 
from long range. The ground around the adobe build- 
ings was strewn with dead and wounded Indians and 
ponies. During the remainder of the day the Indians tried 
to carry off their wounded. 

"At the base of a low rough hill Adobe Walls creek 
ran through a grove of trees, which proved an excellent 
concealment for a band of Indian sharpshooters, who pep- 
pered away at the windows where the defenders delivered 
their deadly fire. 

"The Indians gave up their attempt to capture Adobe 
Walls by direct attack and resorted to strategy. 

"Under cover of the buffalo grass some of them gained 
the rear of Leonard's store behind a pile of buffalo hides 
and prepared to set the building on fire, and force the de- 
fenders to come out in the open. 

"The men in the building could hear the Indians behind 
the hides talking to those concealed in the grass, and be- 
lieving that some deviltry was being hatched, Bill Dixon 
and Fred Leonard began firing their high power guns 
into the hides, and the force of the charge drove the bul- 
lets through the pile, killing a pony and driving the In- 
dians from concealment. 

"In the meantime the sharpshooter Indians kept up 
such a hot fire at the windows and loopholes that the 
inmates could not venture within sight of their wily foe. 

Under cover of this fire the Indians removed their 


"The warriors then formed a distant line of battle and 
came swooping down and began circling the building at 
full speed, shooting from beneath their ponies' necks. 

"During this maneuver the chiefs gathered on a dis- 
tant mound to view the situation and hold a council of 

"This attracted the attention of Billy Dixon and Bat 
Masterson, who elevated the sights of their guns and 
blazed away at the bunch. 

"One chief fell from his horse and the medicine man's 
horse was killed. This broke up the council. 

"When the Indians desisted from their direct attack 
the hunters began to sum up casualties. They found 
Tyler dying from his wounds, and the two Sadler broth- 
ers dead and scalped. They were buried in one grave at 
the close of day. 

"During the night Hanrahan's was abandoned and all 
the hunters concentrated in Leonard's and Langston's 
stores, dug wells and barricaded in anticipation of the re- 
newal of the battle. 

"A man by the name of Reed was sent to Dodge City 
for assistance. Very little fighting was done during the 
second day, the Indians maintaining their distance and 
keeping up a state of siege. 

"The third day the battle was carried on at long range, 
the Indians keeping up a fire from Adobe Walls creek, 
and the hunters replying from the windows. 

"William Olds was killed while taking observations 
from the roof of Leonard's house. He fell through the 
trap door at the feet of his wife. 

"During the third night the besieged were reenforced 
by the arrival of about ioo men from the surrounding 

"After two more days without any open demonstra- 


tion, the hunters supposed that the Indians had given up 
the siege, and two hunters by the name of Huffman and 
Roberts walked out to an elevation to take observation. 

''Huffman was killed and Roberts escaped to the pro- 
tection of the defenders at Leonard's. 

"It was ten days before the Indians, after losing 
eighty-five warriors killed and wounded, withdrew and 
raised the siege of Adobe Walls. 

"My son, the siege of Adobe Walls will live in history, 
long after the men who participated in the battle are 
dead and forgotten. 

"Fearing a renewal of hostilities the hunters marched 
out, and the majority of them went to Fort Dodge, and 
some of them to Fort Griffin, to reorganize their outfits 
for the winter's hunt. 

"They met A. C. Myers, Leonard's partner, on the 
trail with eighty wagons after the stores, which he 
hauled back to Fort Dodge. 

"The commanding officer at Fort Leavenworth refused 
to believe Reed's story that twenty-eight white men were 
fighting 900 Indians, and sent no soldiers to relieve the 

"Governor Osborn, of Kansas, was willing to arm the 
citizens at Dodge City if they would send out a relief 
party, and forwarded a thousand guns and ammunition, 
but before any relief could be organized, couriers came 
in and reported that the hunters had abandoned the 

"The Indians returned after the hunters left, and de- 
stroyed and burned everything, leaving the old walls 
standing like mourners at the graves of the departed. 

"Yes, my son, those red-devils made it very interest- 
ing for the boys during those ten days' siege, and if the 
Indians had all been armed with guns, there might have 
been a different story to tell. 


"It was a long time before Quanah Parker was able to 
head another war party. The alliance of the Indians was 
broken up, and each tribe went back to their own hunt- 
ing ground. 

"The next season the hunters, with but few exceptions, 
made Fort Griffin their headquarters, securing their short 
order supplies from Conrad & Rath's branch store on the 
Deep creek of the Colorado. 

"Many of the outlying camps owed their safety to the 
severe lesson the Indians learned at the siege of Adobe 
Walls, who were taught to respect the long range guns 
and superior marksmanship of the white men." 

Remnant of the Lipan Indians 

Seven tepees in a grove of pecan trees one mile south- 
west of Government hill, in a bend of Collin's creek, was 
the camping ground of the remnant of the Lipan Indians 
— seven tall, sinewy warriors, their squaws and papooses, 
and their chief, "Apache John," his three squaws and his 
papooses — twenty-five all told — the population of the vil- 
lage where the human mementoes of a once proud tribe 
of people lived almost an isolated life on the frontier of 
Texas during the rapid changes following the white 
man's invasion of the Free Range country in his onward 
march toward the land of the setting sun. 

The condition of this little band of dark-skinned, 
bright-eyed people appealed to Kentuck's love for the 
curious, and he determined to delve into the unwritten 
history of the Lipans, who seemed content to avoid both 
their white and red neighbors. 

"Apache John" was a misnomer for the copper-col- 
ored chief who directed the destiny of his dark-colored 
followers, and raised them above the low level of filth 
and degredation of the Tonkawas, three miles distant on 
the Clear Fork. 


John was a Mexican by birth and a Lipan by adop- 

When a toddling lad of three years he was captured 
by the Lipans in an attack on his father's hacienda, in the 
State of Senora, Mexico, and saved from the massacre 
by Sub-Chief Black Horse, who grasped the lad by the 
hair and swung him behind the saddle upon his horse, as 
he charged through the thickest of the fight around 
the adobe building. 

John was turned over to Black Horse's squaw, who 
was childless, and later, when the tribe returned north 
to the Kickapoo Valley with their booty, John was 
adopted as the son of the chief, with all the ceremony of 
the Indian rites. 

John grew up to young manhood, and by force of his 
position as the sub-chief's son, and his natural ability, 
became the leader of the young bucks, and when he 
married the beautiful princess, Ojos Brittianta (Bright 
Eyes), daughter of the war-chief, Wild Horse, he was 
in line of succession and trusted to lead the small bands 
of scouts during a raid on the settlements. 

In those days, except on special expeditions, each 
tribe was the enemy of all the other Indians. Conse- 
quently, on one occasion when John was returning from 
a raid with his little band he met a band of Apaches 
twice his number ; there was a running fight, John was 
taken prisoner and carried into captivity and given up 
for lost by his tribe. 

But twelve months later John escaped and came rid- 
ing into the Lipan village, amid the shouts of welcome : 

"Venire acquie, Apache John !" 

And from that time on he was known and loved as 
"Apache John." 

The "hand of fate" or the "finger of destiny" seems 


to have directed the downfall of the Lipan Indians, and 
in the year 1876 the little village on Collin creek was the 
home of the only members of the tribe in Texas, though 
it was known that a small band lived in the mountains of 
Old Mexico. 

Following the dictates of his nature that prompted an 
investigation of the romantic history of this fallen peo- 
ple, Kentuck accompanied Chief John to the village one 
July evening, and made friends of the members of the 
tribe by a free distribution of tobacco and candy. 

John would not talk much about the past, but pointing 
to his squaw, Bright Eyes, said "She heap know." 

The old squaw, too, was reticent, but after being pre- 
sented with a cheap brooch and a bunch of blue ribbon, 
nodded her head and smiled, in token of her consent. 

Her bright little grandson, Sparkling Water, inter- 
preted the following story: 

"When the Spanish king sent his warriors across the 
big waters, and the white wings of their canoes were seen 
far out where the blue water melted into the blue sky, my 
people were fishing at the mouth of the Rio Grande, and 
my grandfather, the great chief Roaring Wind, walked 
up on a knoll where a live oak tree stood and remained 
there a long time watching the big canoes come nearer 
and nearer toward the shore. 

"My mother was a little girl then, and they called her 
Pajaro Pequeno (Little Bird), because she sang sweet 
songs to the mocking birds when the bright face of the 
moon smiled on the water of the bay, and the white sand 
looked like silver where the waves washed the shore, and 
Little Bird was happy and danced to the song of the 

"And while the big chief was shading his eyes with 
his hand, Little Bird came and stood beside him, watch- 
ing the big canoes fold their wings. 


" 'My father/ she said, 'where did the big canoes come 
from that are resting on the waters of the bay?' 

" 'Many, many miles over the blue water, from a coun- 
try far, far away, my daughter.' 

" 'Then they must be tired and hungry, and we will 
give them fish, and buffalo meat, and maize to eat, and 
make them beds of skins, and they can rest and sleep 
under the trees.' 

" 'Yes, my child, if they come in peace and will be 
friends with the Lipans, we will give them to eat and 
make them soft beds under the trees. But if they come 
as enemies the Lipans will fight and drive them away.' 

"And while they were watching, the strangers put lit- 
tle canoes in the water, and men entered the little canoes 
and began to paddle to the shore. 

"Then all the Lipans quit fishing and came to where 
the big chief and Little Bird stood, and they all waited 
for the strangers to land. 

"And the white chief in the bow of the first canoe, 
raised his hand with something white that fluttered in 
the breeze. 

"And Chief Roaring Wind say : 'They come as 
friends ; 'tis well ; we will go down to the shore and meet 

"All the Lipans go down to where the waves wash the 
sands, and the white chief and the red chief shake hands 
and all the people rejoice, and inarch to the grove of live 
oaks, where the Lipans built their tepees. And the big 
chiefs smoke the pipe of peace, and the red warriors and 
the white warriors dance and sing, and eat and drink, to 
make a bond of friendship. 

"And Don Enriqua, the son of the white chief, he come 
and play with Pajaro Pequeno on the white sands near 
the laughing water, and she was so happy, and the white 


boy was heap happy, too, and all the people rejoice that 
day, many moons long ago. 

"And the Lipans give the white chief much maize and 
much buffalo meat, and much water for the big canoes. 
And the white chief and the white warriors stay six days 
with the Lipans and then sail away. 

"And Pajaro Pequeno she remember Don Enriqua for 
many, many moons, and wish that he come back and play 
some more by the big waters, where the laughing waves 
wash the white sands and the mocking birds sing in the 

"And summer was come and gone and the leaves had 
fallen ; the north wind's icy breath made the water angry 
and the sky was gray, and Pajaro Pequeno shivered in 
the wigwam. 

"Then Chief Roaring Wind say, 'The water is too rough 
and the canoes too light, and the fish no bite when the 
wind is angry, and the time is now come when the Lip- 
ans must cross the Rio Grande and follow the trail to 
the warm country far down the Sierra Madre moun- 

"So the warriors and the squaws pack everything upon 
the ponies and start on a long journey. 

"By and by they come to a rich valley between high 
mountains, where the tall pine trees grow along the 
banks of a swift running river, and many deer and bear 
make their homes in the big rocks, and beautiful birds 
with red and green feathers make their nests in the 
woods. And the chief say, 'This is a pleasant place for 
the Lipans to rest/ And the tepees were built near the 
running water where the golden rays of the setting sun 
played on the tree tops and the breeze from the south 
rustled the leaves overhead. Here the Lipans lived many 
moons, fished, hunted and were contented. 


"But when the spring was come and the Lipans began 
to plant maize, Don Juan de Carizo, the owner of the val- 
ley, come from the great city with many men, and horses, 
and cattle, and he say: 'Lipans, vamos pronto.' 

"And Chief Roaring Wind go to the hacienda where 
Don Juan lives in the big white casa, and he say to Don 
Juan, the Lipans no give him any trouble ; no kill his cat- 
tle ; no steal his horses ; no hurt his men, but that the 
Lipans will kill the bears and the mountain lions, so they 
no kill his cattle, because the Lipans like to stay by the 
running water. 

"But Don Juan he say, 'No, you vamos pronto ! or I 
take my warriors and drive you away.' 

"Then Chief Roaring Wind called a council of all the 
warriors and they smoke and smoke heaps of tobacco, 
and heap pow-wow, and shake tomahawks high- over 
their heads, and the chief say: 

" 'Lipan warriors brave, no sneak away like cowardly 
coyotes; they go when they want to go, and they stay 
when they want to stay, and not go 'cause Don Juan 
say, vamos pronto!' 

"Then Don Juan he much mad, and send his warriors 
and kill Lipan ponies. 

"Chief Roaring Wind he, too, much mad, and say he 
want fifty brave warriors to mount their ponies when the 
sun goes down, and they will ride to the casa granda and 
fight the warriors of Don Juan. 

"And when the evening was come, and the sun hid 
his face behind the mountain, the Lipan warriors fol- 
lowed the chief down the valley to where they could see 
the casa in the moonlight. 

"There in the shadows of the tall pines, at the edge of 
the hacienda the chief called his warriors around him for 
the last consultation before charging the stronghold of 
Don Juan de Carizo. 


"Extending his right arm and pointing his finger at 
the casa, the chief said: 

" 'Lipan warriors, yonder dwells a proud and arrogant 
man ; a man who scorned our friendship and commanded 
us, like so many dogs, to vamos pronto ; and not satis- 
fied with showing his contempt, he answered our petition 
to be allowed to dwell here and protect his herds by 
sending his warriors and killing our ponies. Shall we 
bow our heads in shame and skulk away like so many 
animals before the lash of a master, or shall we, in the 
true spirit of Lipan warriors, strike back and take ven- 
geance on the tyrant who dared to heap this insult upon 

"Every warrior grasped his scalping knife in his hand 
and raised it above his head to signify that he was ready 
to strike a blow in honor of the tribe. 

"The chief then led them around the margin of the 
forest, to where a lane shaded by trees led to the casa. 

"In the moonlight they could see the family of Don 
Juan and a score of his followers frolicking on the lawn. 

"The chief commanded his warriors to form single 
file in the shadow of the trees, and to advance slowly and 
quietly until discovered, then to charge at full speed be- 
fore Don Juan's men could form for defense. 

"They advanced within ioo yards before the cry of 
alarm was raised. 

"Then the Lipan warriors charged down upon them, 
shouting their terrible war whoop, before they could 
form for defense or escape to the casa — down among the 
frightened men, women and children the Lipans dashed, 
killing without mercy and taking many scalps. 

"It was then that Sub-Chief Black Horse saw a fright- 
ened little boy standing all alone in the path of the 
charging warriors, and he urged his horse to the rescue, 


grasping the lad by the hair of his head as he rushed by, 
and swung him behind his saddle. And there is the boy," 
she said pointing to Apache John. 

John was proud of his squaws and papooses, and by 
thrift and business enterprise, accumulated several thous- 
and dollars' worth of cattle and mule teams. 

It was said that he had a standing legacy to give any 
white man that would marry his daughter, Wild Flower. 

The last fight between the settlers and the Indians in 
the Kickapoo valley was in September, 1869, on Robin- 
son's creek, five miles east from where the town of Lipan 
now stands. The Indians had been stealing horses and 
murdering whites on Squaw creek, when a posse of set- 
tlers started after them and chased them up Robinson's 
creek, and surrounded them in a gulch, where they fought 
all day, and seven bucks and one squaw were killed, and 
one white man named Weir. 

No one could tell whether they were Apaches or 
Lipans, as the warriors of both tribes resemble each 

Bob Foster and Marion Self, a few years ago, were 
the last members of the band that fought these Indians. 

Death of Capt. Allen S. Anderson 

In connection with the many events contemporaneous 
with the career of Col. Buck Berry, was the tragic death 
of Capt. Allen S. Anderson, who was shot by Dick Cox, 
one of his own scouts, during a raid after a thieving 
band of Indians in the month of June, 1864. 

Captain Anderson was one of the pioneer settlers of 
McLennan county, and moved to Bosque in the spring 
of 1864, settling in the town of Comanche. 

On the night following his arrival, June 14th, the Indi- 


ans silently entered the town and stole all the horses, with 
the exception of the splendid animal owned by Captain 
Anderson. During the following morning while the in- 
habitants of the little hamlet were discussing the situa- 
tion, several men from the adjacent country arrived with 
a bunch of horses, and it was decided to organize a 
scouting party. After all the preparations were complet- 
ed, Captain Anderson was selected to lead the men on 
the trail of the Indians. Among those who accompanied 
Captain Anderson were Captain Cunningham, Aaron and 
Dave Cunningham, Elias Denton, Dick Cox, Bob Mar- 
shal, W. H. Kingsburry, A. C. Pierce, and others not re- 
membered at this late day. 

The main object of the scout was to ascertain the di- 
rection the Indians were traveling on their raid, and, if 
they were traveling south, to circle in ahead of them and 
warn the settlers living in the valleys below the town. 

Failing to discover any signs leading south, Captain 
Anderson led his men in a wide circle, carefully scrutiniz- 
ing the surrounding country. At last the scouting party 
found signs leading west, and followed the dim trail 
five miles beyond Salt Creek peak, a noted landmark 
used by the Indians for building signal fires. 

A brief consultation was held and it was decided that 
by reason of the fact that no one was known to live west, 
in danger of being attacked by the marauders, that it 
would be useless to follow the trail farther, especially 
as no preparations had been made for a long journey. 

On the return of the expedition, when the men were 
within fifteen miles of Comanche, one of the scouts saw 
a loose horse with a rope around his neck, and he re- 
ported that possibly there were Indians in hiding in the 
thicket near by. 

Acting on the strength of this report, Captain Ander- 


son led an attack on the supposed Indians and, as his 
horse outdistanced his command, he made a run for the 
opposite side of the thicket to cut off any chance of the 
red warriors' escape. The thicket was so dense that he 
was obliged to dismount before he could enter. By this 
time Captain Cunningham and Dick Cox had arrived, 
and entered the thicket from the other side. Cautiously 
approaching the center, Dick Cox saw what he believed 
an Indian crouching down as if to avoid detection, and 
raised his gun, took deliberate aim and fired a load of 
buckshot, striking Captain Anderson under his left 
shoulder near his heart. He uttered a loud scream of 
pain as he bounded to his feet, and exclaimed "I'm 
killed," and Cox realized the horrible fact that he had 
shot his captain. Anderson walked about thirty feet and 
was caught in the arms of Cox, who was frantic with 
grief. Cox gently laid him upon the ground and he ex- 
pired in less than a minute. It was a sorrowful little 
band of men that carried their captain back to Comanche. 

Captain Anderson's wife and two children settled in 
Bosque county, where his son, Archibald D., was elected 
sheriff at the age of twenty-two. And at one time he 
owned a half interest in a herd of cattle that ranged in 
the valley of Bitter creek west of the Double Mountain 
fork of the Brazos river. Later Archibald D. married 
Miss Bertha Thompson. 

Flora, the daughter of Captain Anderson, married 
Joseph A. Kemp, a successful merchant of Wichita Falls, 

Both of the families of Archibald D. Anderson and 
Joseph A. Kemp settled in Wichita Falls and became 
prominent in the development of that flourishing little 

The wife of Captain Anderson died at Clifton, Texas. 


Attack on the Old Stone Ranch in 1867 

Though of not as much importance, when compared 
with more sanguinary fights with the Indians, the attack of 
the Comanches on the Old Stone ranch, in the south- 
western part of Throckmorton county, is worthy of men- 
tion, especially to illustrate the bravery of the frontier 
women, who shared the dangers and hardships incident 
to the settlement of a new country. 

The ranch at that time was the home of B. W. Rey- 
nolds and family. The father and his two daughters, now 
Mrs. J. A. Matthews and Mrs. N. L. Bartholomew, were 
absent at the time of the attack, on a visit to Weather- 
ford, and Mrs. Reynolds and her two sons, Phil and 
Glen (both young lads), remained at home. George T. 
and William D. were on the range looking after the cat- 

The evening before the fight a couple of hunters halted 
at the door and were extended the usual hospitality of 
supper, bed and breakfast. This proved very fortunate 
for the inmates, for at an early hour the next morning, 
while the hunters were saddling their horses preparatory 
to taking their departure, a band of the red devils came 
charging down upon them, with that hair-raising war 
whoop that has struck terror into the hearts of so many 
frontier families. 

But the hunters escaped into the house, and with the 
aid of Glen and Phil gave them a warm reception, though 
the Indians circled the house several times on their ponies 
at full speed, pouring a continuous volley of arrows and 
bullets at the windows and doors. 

But it soon became evident that the Indians were more 
concerned in rounding up a bunch of saddle ponies than 
any attempt to capture the house. 


After the fight was ended and no one hurt, and the 
Indians had disappeared with their stolen horses, the two 
hunters went on their way, leaving Mrs. Reynolds and 
her brave sons to hold the ranch against the possible re- 
turn of the Indians. 

This old ranch is situated about twenty miles north- 
east of Albany, and near the old overland trail to Cali- 
fornia, once the famous highway to the Golden Gate, now 
grass-grown and almost obliterated by the hand of time. 
A stranger might stand on Round mountain, look down 
over the peaceful valley and never dream of the stirring 
scenes enacted within sight of this lonely peak. 

The writer of this story attended the reception given 
to George T. Reynolds and his bride, nee Miss Bettie 
Matthews, in the winter of 1877. And it was here, too, 
that George T. was nursed back to convalescence while 
suffering from almost a mortal wound received in an 
Indian fight at Double mountain elsewhere described in 
this volume. 

Before the war the overland trail was a much traveled 
route, across Texas by emigrant trains bound for the 
golden regions of the Northwest and California. And 
many are the sad stories told of those who perished from 
thirst and hunger, on the Staked plains and the Arizona 
desert, or fell victims to cruel Indian attacks, leaving 
their bleached bones on the prairies. But time has 
smoothed the wrinkles out, and those who dwell amid 
peace and plenty along the old trail, can not realize that 
the want of water and food was once the price of life. 

Fight Near the Copper Mines in Archer County 

The only protection afforded the early settlers from 
the predatory raids of the Indians during the closing 
years of the Civil war, was the Texas rangers, with 
headquarters at Austin. 


On one occasion a large band of Comanches overrun 
the country down as far as San Saba and Coryell coun- 
ties, driving off horses and cattle, attacking ranches and 
burning the houses. 

Capt. Sul Ross was dispatched with a company of 
rangers, with orders to drive them out, and, if possible, 
punish the marauders. 

After a long march and several skirmishes with strag- 
glers, he finally drove the main body into the hills of the 
unorganized county of Archer, near where the Boston- 
Texas Copper company, after the war, attempted to work 
a copper mine. 

The rangers with an auxiliary force of settlers num- 
bered about thirty, and the Indians between two and 
three hundred. 

When the Indians found that they were cornered, they 
turned on their pursuers and a fierce battle was fought, 
lasting about two hours, during which both sides resort- 
ed to all the tactics of border warfare. 

Finally the Indians were repulsed with heavy loss and 
several rangers and settlers killed and wounded. 

The Indians retreated northwest, carrying with them 
their dead and wounded, but owing to the long forced 
march of the rangers and settlers and the fatigue of the 
battle, Captain Ross desisted from following the Indians, 
and he ordered his command into camp. 

It was while camped near this rough range of hills 
that one of the rangers discovered the copper ore that 
laid in detached lumps along the breaks. On the strength 
of the judgment of several old miners, Captain Ross 
loaded several hundred pounds of the ore into an empty 
wagon accompanying the command and hauled it to 
Austin on his return, where it was tested and proved so 
pure that it was melted and used for making caps for the 
guns of the Confederate forces then in the State. 


Since then, from time to time, the land upon which the 
copper was discovered has passed into the possession of 
several companies, and is now owned by the Texas- 
Boston syndicate. 

As usual with the Indians after a severe chastisement, 
they remained quiet for several months and returned to 
the breaks of the upper Canadian. 

The Fight Near the California Ranch 

One of the most severe punishments ever administered 
to a roving band of Indians occurred near where the 
Matthews & Reynolds Cattle company built their stone 
ranch house on California creek, in the southeastern part 
of Haskell county. 

The fight took place several years before the building 
of this stone house. 

The Indians had raided a small settlement at the 
mouth of BufTord creek, in the northern part of Shackle- 
ford county, and killed a young man named Joseph 
Browning. Five men, John R. and George B. Bay- 
lor, Elias Hale, Num Wright and John Dawson, 
followed the Indians and overtook a small band near 
where the ranch house now stands. From the shelter of 
rocks and a live oak thicket the settlers were able to 
watch the movements of the Indians without themselves 
being seen. 

From their point of observation the men were soon 
convinced that this place would prove to be the rendez- 
vous of the whole band of raiders, who had followed 
their usual tactics of breaking up into small bands when 
on a successful raid, then meet at a common point before 
crossing the plains. 

The white men having the advantage of being armed 
with Henry rifles while their foes were only armed with 


bows and arrows, soon disposed of the small band of 
six. Again concealing themselves, they repeated the vic- 
tory by killing eight more, who arrived on the scene an 
hour later. In this way they were enabled to wipe out of 
existence half a dozen bands during the day, until the 
main body appeared, and they were compelled to make 
their escape. It is reported that these five men killed 
forty Indians without losing a single man. 

Either of the bands would have put up a strong fight if 
they had known the smaller number opposed to them. 
But fighting an unseen foe always proved a weak point 
with the Indians. A dash into a thicket saved many set- 
tlers when alone on the prairie, for they rarely followed 
a white man into concealment, for fear that it led to an 

"A Miss is as Good as a Mile" 

The old saying "that you cannot count your chickens 
before they hatch" was exemplified on one occasion in 
the year 1864. 

The Indians were unusually active, and raided the 
scattered settlements along the Brazos, Red river and 
all the tributary streams. 

Texas at this time was under the Confederate flag 
and, beyond a few small commands, was without protec- 

Urgent appeals to headquarters was of no avail. All 
the troops that could be spared were sent to the front to 
support the retreating army. Here and there, it is true, 
could be found a small squad of rangers who, though 
called into the regular service, were detailed on scout 

One of these squads was stationed on Red river in 
Montague county, to cooperate with the settlers in pro- 
tecting their lives and property against the redskins. 


But notwithstanding their united efforts, the Indians 
made several successful raids, killing men, women and 
children, and driving off bunches of horses and cattle, 
leaving the ashes of their homes as a sad evidence of 
their cruelty. 

One evening a scout returned and reported a band of 
Comanches camped in a grove a few miles down the 
river, near the mouth of Three Forks on Farmer's creek, 
not far from the present town of St. Joe. 

Guided by the scout, the rangers were led to where, at 
a safe distance, they dismounted and approached 
cautiously on foot to where they could see the Indians 
lying under the embankment near the creek. 

Every man in the ranger force was an excellent marks- 
man, and would have resented any intimation that he 
would miss an Indian at so close a range. Consequently, 
the word was passed along the line in a whisper to take 
careful aim and fire at the word of command. 

It looked like the chance of wiping out of existence 
one band of red marauders was ten to nothing. But the 
deceptive firelight, flickering low over the dying embers, 
played them false, and every man overshot the Indians, 
who aroused of their danger, hastily made their escape 
down the bed of the stream into the darkness beyond. 
And with a sheepish look of chagrin, the rangers were 
compelled to return to their camp, having lost a golden 
opportunity to punish the Indian raiders. 

It was during these raids that Chester Dobbs was 
overtaken in the Hitson mountains, in Palo Pinto coun- 
ty, while he was hunting horses. He was riding leisure- 
ly along through a gap usually traveled by the ponies to 
enter a small valley where the grass was rank and fur- 
nished excellent pasture. 

Without any warning, two Indian warriors rode into 


the trail in front of Dobbs and raised their tomahawks 
and approached to take him prisoner. But preferring 
death to capture and torture, he whirled his horse and 
dashed for liberty. The fleet-footed ponies of the In- 
dians showed greater speed than Dobbs' pony, and they 
soon overtook him, one riding on either side, shooting 
arrows at the flying horseman, while Dobbs, only armed 
with an old cap and ball six-shooter, could not turn far 
enough in his saddle to take accurate aim, consequently 
was at the greatest disadvantage in the running fight. 
He was disabled by an arrow cutting his belt and enter- 
ing his abdomen. As he fell from his horse one of the 
Indians struck him with a tomahawk near the base of his 
skull. When found his scalp had been torn off. 

The Fight on Double Mountain Fork 

Perhaps the most sanguinary battle ever fought be- 
tween the Indians and the early settlers on the frontier 
of Northwest Texas was on the Double Mountain fork 
of the Brazos river, in what is now known as Haskell 
county. This bloody conflict took place on the 3d day 
of April, 1867. The Indians had been on a successful 
raid in Stephens and Shackleford counties, then attached 
to Palo Pinto for judicial purposes. On their return 
with a large bunch of stolen horses the Indians killed 
and scalped a white girl near J. C. Lynch's ranch. This 
aroused a spirit of vengeance among the neighboring 
ranchmen, and ten settlers, including George T. and Wil- 
liam D. Reynolds, and T. E. Jackson, followed the In- 
dians' trail. Knowing the general direction the Indians 
would take in their efforts to escape with the stolen 
horses, the white men pushed forward with all possible 
speed to overtake them. It was the morning of the third 
day's pursuit when the signs became so fresh that the 


men would not stop to take the trouble to cook, or time 
to eat the necessary meals to sustain their strength, so 
eager were they to overtake and punish the marauders. 
It was about 3 p. m. when the little band of settlers rode 
up on an elevated plateau overlooking the valley of the 
Double mountain fork of the Brazos. With the aid of a 
spyglass the Indians were discovered about a half-mile 
from a deep water hole, engaged in killing buffalo. 
Quickly retreating down the opposite slope of the plateau 
to the brakes of the stream, the white men were enabled 
to skirt the timber and make a dash at close quarters. 

The Indians, though taken completely by surprise, put 
up a fierce and stubborn fight. Outnumbering the whites 
three to one, they depended on strength of numbers to 
win. Being at a disadvantage on horseback against their 
wily foe, the white men dismounted and fought from be- 
hind their horses, while the Indians followed their well 
known tactics of riding their horses at full speed, en- 
circling their foes, swinging their bodies on the opposite 
side of their animals, and shooting from beneath the 
pony's neck. The battle lasted during the remainder of 
the evening, and when the Indians drew off, taking their 
dead and wounded with them, the white men were so 
badly disabled that they could not have defended them- 
selves much longer, much less to have followed the In- 
dians, T. E. Jackson being the only man not killed or 
wounded. Out of the ten who started out to punish the 
red devils and recover the stolen horses, six lay dead on 
the prairie and three were wounded. W. D. Reynolds 
sustained a flesh wound in his left arm, John Anderson 
was severely wounded in his right arm and George T. 
Reynolds was shot through his body with an arrow, suf- 
fering much pain. Jackson pulled out the shaft, but the 
arrow head remained in Reynolds' body and caused him 


a great deal of trouble for sixteen years, until he finally 
had it removed in Kansas City in 1882, and keeps it as 
a relic of this memorable fight. The herculean task of 
burying the dead and making a litter for George T. 
Reynolds fell to the lot of Jackson, with what assistance 
W. D. Reynolds could give him. George T. and William 
D. Reynolds are prominent citizens of Fort Worth, and 
so far as known are the only two living participants in 
the Double mountain fight. No doubt if the Indians had 
possessed more guns there would have been no survivors 
to relate the story of this fight. One thing was demon- 
strated in this fight, and that was that the Comanches 
were the fiercest and most intrepid foe that faced the 
white settlers of Northwest Texas in the '60s and '70s. 
They were a tall, lithe, manly race of warriors, intellectu- 
ally superior to the other tribes that inhabited the Plain's 
country. They were also a cleanly tribe, and their war- 
riors dressed in buckskin shirts and leggins, similar to 
the white hunters. 

Battle of Cottonwood Hole 

Another desperate battle took place at what is known 
as the Cottonwood Hole in Young County. A bunch of 
cow punchers consisting of Bill Couch, Henry Harmison, 
Shap Carter, Bill Crow, Rube Secrets, George Lamley 
and a negro cook, were surprised by the Indians and took 
refuge in a hole made by an uprooted cottonwood tree. 
The only weapons in the bunch were a couple of cap and 
ball six-shooters. Ira Graves did the shooting and Henry 
Harmison did the loading. Every time the Indians 
charged the natural fortification, Ira would rise with a 
six-shooter in each hand and repulse them. Four men 
were killed in this fight, and Perry Harmison was sent 
with an ox cart to haul them to the settlement for burial. 


Perry Harmison is a successful farmer living in Wichita 
county, not far from Wichita Falls. 

Fight at Cox Mountain 

A desperate duel took place in Los valley, not far from 
Fort Belknap, in Young county, between a band of In- 
dians and Jack Cox and Jim Peveler. Cox and Peveler 
were out on the range cutting firewood when they were 
surrounded by a band of Kiowas. Both were armed with 
Sharp carbines and put up a bloody fight until their car- 
tridges gave out. Cox was killed and Peveler escaped, 
after killing about six Indians. Cox was buried at the 
base of a mountain that bears his name until this day. 

About the same time Jim Hart and Bill Hitson were 
surprised by a band of Comanches on Mahar creek, near 
where Albany is located, in Shackleford county. After 
standing the Indians off for several hours they managed 
to escape without being hurt. 

During these years, between 1863 and 1876, the coun- 
try was overrun with bands of hostile Indians, and it 
sometimes appeared that the settlers would be extermi- 
nated or compelled to move back East. 

But there was always one dominant characteristic ex- 
hibited by the early settlers of Northwest Texas, and that 
was a tenacity to hold on under the most trying ordeals. 
Women became brave defenders of their homes in those 
days, as many a dead Indian might testify. 

As late as the year 1878 George Halsell and Ed Der- 
rett were rounded up by the Indians on Pond creek, 
about eight miles from where the city of Wichita Falls 
now stands. Halsell was killed and Derrett ran his horse 
to a clump of trees near the creek bank, and escaped into 
an old dugout, where he remained until night, then went 
back and carried Halsell's body to the dugout and then 
went for assistance. 


The chain of government posts from Fort Richardson 
on the east to Fort Bliss on the west proved of very lit- 
tle protection to the settlers and ranchmen scattered over 
the great western range. Miles and miles of this vast 
territory was ravaged by the Indians and renegades, with 
no protection save the small bands of Texas rangers, aid- 
ed by the settlers themselves. Many large claims have 
been paid by the government to the early settlers for 
horses stolen by the Indians during these predatory raids, 
when they were supposed to be on the reservation. One 
of the pathetic mistakes of the government's Indian pol- 
icy in those days was the neglect of the little band of 
Tonkawas who camped near the post at Fort Griffin for 

Appearances Were Deceptive 

One delightful day in the fall of 1877 Kentuck mount- 
ed his buckskin pony and rode west toward the old Salt 
Works. With a Henry rifle in the scabbard beneath the 
stirrup-strap and a six-shooter at his belt, he felt armed 
for any emergency, and capable of taking care of any 
kind of game that by chance he might discover. 

The ride was more in the nature of an outing than any 
desire to kill game, or any desire to travel to any ob- 
jective point. He was out for a half-day's recreation and 
was content to let the little wiry mustang select his own 
gait, while he breathed the fresh air of the prairie and 
admired the beauties of nature, clad in russet-brown 

Kentuck was somewhat of a dreamer, and prone to 
worship the ideal, and on this occasion engaged in "cas- 
tle building" to the extent of losing sight of direction 
and surroundings. But his faithful little pony, trained to 
follow the trail, plodded patiently along until he had cov- 
ered about six miles from town. 


The pony had climbed to the top of a knoll and, with- 
out warning, stopped and gave a snort of alarm. 

This brought Kentuck back from the land of dreams 
with a rush, and he began to take observations. 

About six hundred yards up the trail in the direction 
he was traveling he saw a band of about twenty Indians, 
painted warriors decked in all the gay colors of Indians 
when they go forth to battle. 

They were too far away for Kentuck to determine the 
tribe to which they belonged. 

It was a critical moment in the life of the man from 
the mountains of Kentucky, and he realized that his life 
hung in the balance, depending entirely on the attitude 
of the Indians — were they hostile or friendly? As if in 
answer to his mental question, the Indians spread out in 
open formation, and it looked like they were making 
preparation to capture him. Kentuck had no doubt of 
it from appearances, and knowing the futility of trying 
to outrun them on the open prairie, dismounted and pre- 
pared to sell his life as dearly as possible. 

Drawing his rifle from the scabbard, Kentuck stepped 
behind his pony and laid the barrel across the saddle 
to steady his aim, and waited for them to approach with- 
in good range, watching their movements in anticipation 
of a flight of arrows or a shower of bullets. 

This attitude had its effect on the Indians, and their 
war chief threw up his hands and shouted : 

"Me Tonkawa! Me Tonkawa!" 

The reaction from that tense feeling keyed up to take 
desperate chances when driven to the last stand on this 
side of eternity, left Kentuck for the moment unnerved. 
But recovering himself with an effort, anger came to his 
relief, and it required the greatest effort to keep from 
discharging his gun at the red joker. 


And right here let it be understood that those who be- 
lieve that the Indian has no sense of humor are very bad- 
ly mistaken. 

Whether Old Charley had been long enough in con- 
tact with the white men to cultivate a sense of humor, it 
matters not, but certain it is that his broad smile showed 
an appreciation of the situation, as the Indians ap- 
proached to where Kentuck was remounting his pony. 

"Charley, you blamed old fool, I came near sending a 
bullet into your worthless carcass. What in thunder 
do you mean, you old rascal, by playing bad Indians?" 

"Umph, me heap big ingun; me no hurt him white 
brother. Sabe, you heap brave; no run away; heap 
brave ; heap want to fight." 

"Y-e-s ; maybe ; but don't you ever run that bluff again, 
Charley, or you will take a flying trip to the happy hunt- 
ing ground. See!" 

"Yes, me sabe; heap sabe; white man shoot Indian." 
And the unmitigated old rascal actually winked one eye. 

And the band of Tonkawas went on their way toward 
Fort Griffin leaving Kentuck to reflect on the situation 
that presented a condition, false in facts, but embodying 
all the elements of the real. 

And this is as near as Kentuck ever came to partici- 
pating in an Indian fight, notwithstanding there were 
several raids in that section after he came to Northwest 
Texas. But, as he often expressed it, the experience with 
Old Charley and his band of scouts had all the elements 
of the real thing. 

Col. J. B. (Buck) Barry 

Next to Gen. Sul Ross, Col. Buck Barry, of Walnut 
Springs, was one of the most interesting figures in de- 
fense of the Texas frontier against Indian raids. His 


home ranch was near Walnut Springs, and in the early 
'70s he sent a herd of cattle in charge of his son-in-law, 
John Shelton, to the Griffin range, near Albany. 

Shelton and his wife Sallie located in Albany, and dur- 
ing the fall of each year Colonel Buck visited them for 
two or three weeks. 

Being one of the pioneers as well as colonel of a regi- 
ment of rangers during the Civil war, he could relate 
many interesting incidents of border warfare. 

On these occasions he always had an interesting audi- 
ence, Texas and Kentuck generally included. 

Especially interesting was his description of Black 
Eagle's attack on the little settlement on Elm creek, near 
Fort Belknap, in the valley across the Brazos on the 
trail to Fort Griffin. 

In anticipation of Black Eagle's raid, Colonel Barry's 
command was ordered from Harrisburg to Belknap, to 
cooperate with White's company of Bowlin's regiment, 
sent on ahead to reconnoiter. By the time that Barry's 
command arrived at Weatherford the Indians, 1,000 
strong, had pushed south as far as Fort Murray, on the 
Brazos river, and after a fierce attack had captured the 
fort and massacred the garrison. They then pushed on 
toward the small settlement on Elm creek. Three miles 
north of the little town they encountered Captain White's 
company, and a spirited fight took place and White was 
driven across the Brazos. Not far from Boggy creek, 
where this fight took place, the Indians discovered old 
man Harmonson and his son Perry, and gave chase. The 
Harmonsons were fortunate enough to escape to the 
brush and stood the Indians off, killing three of them. 
The Indians then came in sight of the string of houses 
along the bank of Elm creek. 

A man by the name of Doc Wilson sighted the Indians 


a mile away and ran with all his strength to the upper 
end of the town, then down the creek from house to 
house, giving the alarm. Just as Wilson ran into the yard 
of George Bragg's house at the end of the row, he was 
shot and killed outside of the door, by the Indians close 
upon his heels. Bragg ran to his rescue and was also shot, 
but not killed. Two cowboys dragged him inside and 
barred the door. The rest of the inhabitants of the little 
town escaped to the brush and hid. The cowboys and 
Bragg put up a bloody fight and killed several Indians. 
In the meantime the Indians pillaged and destroyed ev- 
erything in the other houses. 

About a mile from the town on the trail toward the 
river lived a widow named Fitzpatrick, a married daugh- 
ter and three children ; a girl and two boys. The only 
defense that the family possessed was a large brindle 
bull dog. This faithful old dog confronted the Indians 
and died in defense of his mistress. 

Colonel Barry and his rangers arrived on the scene the 
next day, and when they rode up to the Fitzpatrick house 
they halted and gazed with astonishment at what they 
saw. There sat the faithful old dog outside the door, his 
fore feet braced against the ground and his glassy eyes 
and grinning teeth, even in death, glaring defiance at his 
red enemies. Fifteen arrows were sticking in his body. 
In the back yard lay the bodies of Mrs. Fitzpatrick's 
daughter and her two sons. The old lady and the little 
girl had been carried away into captivity. 

Colonel Barry's command dug a wide grave in the 
garden and buried the mother and her two sons and the 
faithful dog in the same grave. 

"Boys," said Sergeant Christal, "that poor old dog died 
in defense of the lady and her children, and I move that 
we bury him with them." All voiced their approval. The 


arrows were pulled from his body and his remains were 
laid at their feet. 

Black Eagle's band disappeared in the northwest, and 
though Colonel Barry's rangers followed the trail for 
some distance, they were never able to overtake them. 

Col. Buck Barry possessed all the characteristics of the 
ideal rough rider of the frontier — tall and lithe, with 
piercing eyes and daring written in every feature; his 
long hair falling over his shoulders, he was sure to at- 
tract more than the ordinary notice when he appeared 
in public. 

Massacre of the Lee Family 

During the time that Col. Buck Barry's command oc- 
cupied Belknap as headquarters, he sent out from time 
to time scouting squads to look for signs of hostile 

Sergeant Christal with ten men rode as far south as 
the Lee settlement, twenty miles below Fort Griffin on 
the Clear Fork of the Brazos river, where Lee and his 
family made their home in the valley, cultivated a small 
farm and owned a herd of cattle. 

For two years they had remained unmolested, notwith- 
standing bands of Kiowas and Comanches raided the ad- 
jacent country. The family consisted of the father, 
mother, two daughters and a son. 

Christal and his squad camped over night near the 
ranch house and were shown all the courtesies and hos- 
pitality of the frontier. 

And the saddest part of this massacre was that the 
rangers had departed only a few hours when a band of 
Kiowa warriors came dashing up while the family were 
enjoying their noonday meal, and before they could close 
the door and defend themselves the father, mother and 
son were shot down and scalped. 


The girls were captured and carried away with the 
band, and years afterward they were discovered with the 
tribe on the Fort Sill reservation. Negotiations were car- 
ried on between the agent of the reservation and the In- 
dian chief that finally ended in securing the freedom of 
the Lee girls, and they were sent to relatives in a distant 
State where, if living, they are nearing three score and 
ten years. 

Many other thrilling adventures were related by 
Colonel Barry that would make interesting reading, but 
as many of the details are missing, especially names and 
dates, the writer cannot afford to tire his readers with 

No doubt many incidents that possessed all the ele- 
ments that make* border life so fascinating have been lost 
in the march of the years, because those who participated 
considered that they were only the commonplace condi- 
tions of a frontiersman's life. 

Men and women in those days lived plain, simple, hon- 
est lives, and were too modest to boast of their achieve- 



The vanishing shadows are slowly fading, growing blurred and 

There is something on my glasses and there is moisture on the 


It was a few days after Texas and his companions had 
returned from their outing on the buffalo range, and 
they were assembled in Tennessee's drug store talking 
about the incidents of the past month, especially specu- 
lating on the truth or falsity of Smoky's story of Jeff 
Turner, "the Indian hater." 

"Well, boys," said Kentuck, "that Smoky was a queer 
duck, and no mistake. Evidently a man of finished edu- 
cation, from the polished language he used during his 
recital, and his appearance denoted a mysterious past that 
he was trying to make a sealed book, and no doubt came 
to the frontier to bury his identity, that those that knew 
him might also forget. Whether true or fictitious, his 
story of Jeff Turner made a deep impression upon me. 
His recital of the ravings of Turner in the rattlesnakes' 
den was dramatic in the extreme." 

"Yes, he was an odd character all right," said Texas. 
"The first and the only frontier tramp that this part of 
Texas can boast of, if that can be considered a distinc- 
tion. And his disappearance at Sand Rock springs, on 
our return, was in keeping with all his other character- 

While engaged in this conversation, Ranchman Lyle 

23 353 


made his appearance in the door, and after the usual salu- 
tation of "Howdy," approached Texas and said, "It is 
all right, my boy ; the fight's all off between you and me, 
and you have my consent to visit the women folk when 
you like — here's my hand on it, my boy." 

"Glad to meet you halfway, Lyle," said Texas, as he ad- 
vanced and grasped the extended hand. "I have always 
admired you, Lyle, in spite of your unreasonable preju- 
dice against me." 

"Well, my boy, we will let by-gones go and look 
ahead ; we understand each other now. Come and see me 
soon ; and you, too, boys ; adios — this is my busy day." 

"Well, Texas, congratulations are in order," said Ken- 
tuck, as he grasped his comrade's hand and gave it a 
hearty shake. "The brave deserve the fair, and I hope you 
will find true happiness, health and wealth all along the 
pathway of life — you deserve it." 

One after the other his companions advanced and con- 
gratulated Texas over the happy ending of the fight to 
win the girl he loved. 

Current events moved smoothly along for the next 
three months, and men and women lived a dreamy exist- 
ence as the summer dragged, and the cattle grew fat and 
lazy while the cow punchers lounged in the shade of the 
trees and their ponies ambled around, cropping the mes- 
quite grass. 

In the meantime the preparations for Texas and Mol- 
lie's wedding went merrily along. Every cowboy on the 
range was a committee of one to invite all the cow punch- 
ers to come and see the parson tie the matrimonial knot. 

The ranch house had been converted into a bakery, 
and every woman within twenty miles lent her neighbor- 
ly aid to make it a success. 

"Blessed is the bride the sun shines on" is an old 


proverb, and, if true, Texas and Mollie's wedding day 
dawned clear and cloudless, and the sun's rays flooded 
the landscape like a sheen of gold. 

All the ranchmen and cowboys within 200 miles were 
present to witness the ceremony that united Texas and 
Mollie in the bonds of holy matrimony. The ladies from 
Albany, together with those from the scattered families 
on the range, added to the enjoyment of the occasion. 

The two-story ranch house was thrown wide open, 
and if there was a cow puncher in all that vast expanse 
of prairie land known as the "free range country" who 
was not present on this brilliant occasion it was his own 
fault, for the wholesale hospitality of Lyle and his wife 
was as broad and as long as the range itself. 

Of course, negro Andy was present with his violin to 
make music for "da white folk." And he was proud of 
the privilege, and his ebony face beamed with satisfac- 
tion as he sauntered around watching the boys unsad- 
dling and hoppling their bronchos. 

"Here, you imp of Satan, who invited you to the wed- 
ding?" exclaimed Texas. 

"Bless your heart, boss, I don't specs I needs a' invi- 
tation to yourn and Mis' Mollie's weddin', does I?" 

"No, Andy, you have a black skin, but your heart is 
in the right place, and you are always welcome." 

"Dat's de way I likes to hear you talk it, boss." 

"All right, Andy; I expect if you are around near the 
storeroom in five minutes, there will be something to 
warm your insides." 

"Thank'ee, boss; I'll sure be dar." 

Farewell to the Fort and the Flat 

It was the month of November, 1882, when orders 
were received to abandon the fort and move the troops 
to Fort Clark, near the town of Brackettville. 


The old trading post of Fort Griffin that had stood 
for so many years on the frontier of Texas, the ren- 
dezvous of the cattle men, trailmen and buffalo hunters, 
was to be dismantled, and all the stores and equipments 
transported to other points. 

All the business men, hotel men, saloon men and arti- 
sans in the Flat were hunting new locations, and an air 
of dejection pervaded the whole community. 

'Tis true that the buffalo hunters had killed all the 
large herds that once grazed in the Panhandle, and the 
remnant bad drifted north and the business was no long- 
er profitable. 

'Tis true, also, that the trunk lines of railways from 
the East had extended their lines into southern and west- 
ern Texas, giving quick transportation to the stockyards 
in the big cities, and that the old overland trail no longer 
resounded with the shouts of the cow punchers and the 
clattering hoofs and horns of thousands of heads of cat- 

A transformation was taking place on the range, too, 
and wire fencing was being used to fence in pastures, 
and the homes of settlers were dotting the prairies, and 
there was little free grass left. 

Consequently, Albany began to take on new life and 
clamor for recognition among # the towns of Northwest 

Business men with large local interests offered induce- 
ments to the Texas Central railway to extend its line to 
the town. 

Everything looked prosperous, and F. E. Conrad 
moved his general supply store from the fort to Albany. 

The prosaic commercialism of the East was fast push- 
ing the old romantic "Wild West" into the background, 
and the "bad man" was hunting more congenial associa- 


tions, while the bona fide citizen was assimilating ideas 
in harmony with the new conditions. 

And yet there were spasmodic outbursts of lawless- 
ness that required the brave effort of efficient officers to 

One event at least deserves mention in this connection 
before the author bids adieu to the readers of this vol- 

Texas and Kentuck belonged to the official family of 
the county, the former guarding the money bags and as- 
sisting the clerk, and the latter prosecuting offenders in 
the name of the State. 

One morning a deputy sheriff from Brown county ar- 
rived with warrants for two men, named King and Lewis, 
charged with theft and murder. 

From the description of the men, Sheriff Green Simp- 
son located them at the Millet Brothers' ranch in Baylor 
county, near the town of Seymour. The ranch was in 
what was known as the Griffin range, and the two men 
had often engaged in drunken rows in the Flat, and 
helped to "shoot 'em up." 

After a consultation with his deputy, Henry Herron, 
Simpson agreed to assist Phillips in the capture of the 

Knowing the reputation of Millet ranch as a rendez- 
vous for all kinds of desperadoes trying to escape from 
justice, Kentuck urged the sheriff and the two deputies 
to arm themselves with shotguns loaded with buckshot, 
in addition to their six-shooters. But Sheriff Simpson, a 
brave man, though often reckless to foolhardiness, de- 
cided to wait and summon a posse at the ranch, if in his 
judgment it became necessary. 

"Green," said Kentuck, "you seem to forget that the 
Millets have always employed the most desperate men 


they could hire. A shady record was always a good 
recommendation. Among all the outfits that visit the 
Flat, none can raise more hell and stand more punish- 
ment when arrested than the Millet gang. I don't want 
you to think that I assume to advise you, but I fear that 
there will be serious trouble when you attempt to arrest 
any of that outfit." 

"Never fear, Kentuck ; we will use all necessary 
caution, but I don't anticipate any trouble. I know the 
Millets are a tough lot, but they can't afford to buck 
against the law." 

"Oh, the Millets themselves will not take a hand, but 
they will stand back and turn the gang loose. Better 
summon a posse at Griffin to go with you." 

"All right, Kentuck; I'll think about it on the way 
over. Come on, boys, we must be moving. We will camp 
on the Clear Fork to-night and pull into the ranch in the 

The sheriff and the deputies departed, and Kentuck 
sauntered into the clerk's office, where Texas was record- 
ing deeds. 

"Say, Texas, I feel uneasy about Green, Henry and 
that Brown county deputy. Green's too durned stubborn 
for his own safety." 

"I believe you, Kentuck, but what's the use of worry- 
ing when you can't help it?" 

"True, Texas, and as a rule I don't. But it is too 
blamed bad to sacrifice those brave deputies because the 
sheriff is bull-headed." 

"Oh, maybe it will not be a sacrifice, Kentuck." 

"Let us hope so, Texas. I'm not superstitious — don't 
believe in omens and signs, but somehow I've a premoni- 
tion that there will be serious trouble at the Millet ranch 
when our boys tackle those desperadoes. But I'm due at 


Justice Steele's court at 2 p. m., and had better hunt up 
my bronc. Griffin is not like it used to be, Texas. When 
I was first appointed county attorney, to fill out Jim 
Browning's unexpired term, and the next three years, 
including my first elected term, the court averaged ten 
cases every morning, but now it has dwindled to two a 
week. The old town is going to pieces, Texas." 

"'Tis strange, but true. And yet if we had paused for 
a moment during the past six years we could have pre- 
dicted the present. The government post was never on 
a permanent basis ; simply a temporary outpost to scare 
the Indians and cause the settlers to feel a certain degree 
of safety. Now that the buffalo are all killed, and the 
building of railways makes it no longer necessary to drive 
cattle up the trail, the local trade of the ranchmen is not 
sufficient to support the business men, and they are forced 
to hunt new locations. Therefore, the hangers-on must 
go too, Kentuck." 

"I never realized it before, Texas, but I can see the 
inevitable, the evening of the old and the morning of the 
new Texas Northwest. We are at the parting of the 
ways, between the free range and wire fence, Texas, 
you and I must look into the future if we desire to keep 
up with the procession." 

"Well, Kentuck, Mollie and I are married and settled 
down — go and do likewise, my son." 

"I'll think about it, Texas. So long, I'm off for the 

In the meantime Sheriff Simpson and the two depu- 
ties were on the trail, headed for Millet's ranch. At Fort 
Griffin they picked up a man named Dotty, who knew 
and could identify the two desperadoes, King and Lewis. 
But Dotty accompanied them under protest, and when 
they came in sight of the ranch, and discovered the two 


men riding a short distance from the corral, carrying 
Winchesters and six-shooters, Dotty deserted the posse 
and made back tracks for Griffin. 

Leaving Herron and Phillips to watch the maneuvers 
of King and Lewis, Sheriff Simpson went to the ranch 
house for assistance. But the desperadoes suspecting that 
they were the object of attention, quirted their ponies and 
cut in between the sheriff and the deputies and followed 
Simpson to the house, Herron and Phillips bringing up 
the rear. In this formation they arrived at the stone 
fence inclosing the buildings. 

Simpson dismounted and jumped over the fence, then 
ran into the house. King and Lewis also dismounting, 
climbed the fence and remained in the yard facing Her- 
ron and Phillips when they rode up. 

The sudden arrival of the sheriff and the hostile atti- 
tude of those on the outside created intense excitement 
among Millet's men. 

John N. Simpson (now a prominent banker of Dallas, 
Texas, and erstwhile candidate for Governor on the Re- 
publican ticket) was present negotiating for the purchase 
of the ranch and cattle. 

"Give me that gun," shouted the sheriff to Peeler, the 
range boss, pointing to a double-barrel shotgun in the 
corner of the room. 

Peeler made no move to obey, and the sheriff grabbed 
the gun and rushed to the door, exclaiming, "I summon 
you all to help me arrest these men !" 

King and Lewis were standing near the stone fence 
with their Winchesters in their hands, watching the 
deputies, when the sheriff appeared in the doorway and 
pointed his gun at them. 

"Throw up your hands and surrender," he command- 


But the only answer from King and Lewis was a 
movement to elevate their guns. 

This caused the officers to open fire, and the fight was 

Unfortunately for the sheriff, his gun was loaded with 
birdshot, and at the distance of thirty yards was not 
capable of deadly execution. And when he attempted to 
discharge the second barrel, King fired a Winchester 
bullet that passed through both of his arms, leaving him 
helpless and at the mercy of his antagonist. 

Lewis, using the fence as a breastwork, was battling 
with Herron and Phillips, who were using their six- 
shooters and trying to force their ponies closer to the 

A ball from Lewis' rifle shattered the handle of Phil- 
lip's pistol, disabling his right arm, and the weapon fell 
to the ground. 

King, after Sheriff Simpson fell, turned his attention 
also to Herron and Phillips, and the superiority of the 
Winchesters over the six-shooters was soon demonstrat- 

Herron was shot through both hips and fell from his 

Phillips was wounded five times before he too fell 
from his horse. 

King and Lewis were not seriously wounded and were 
preparing to finish the helpless officers, when John N. 
Simpson picked up a gun and stepped to the door and 
exclaimed, "Cap Millet, you cannot afford to permit those 
men to kill the wounded officers ! — call them off !" 

"Here, you, King and Lewis ; let up on that shoot- 
ing !" commanded Lon Millet, "or we will be compelled to 
take a hand in the game." 

The two ceased firing, turned around and let the muz- 
zles of their rifles rest on the ground. 


"All right, boss; pay us off and we'll vamos. Don't 
think it will be healthy for us around here after this 

"Well, come in and git your money." 

"Excuse us, boss ; you bring it out. We are a little 
particular about the company we keep to-day." 

Holding their guns in readiness to defend themselves, 
King and Lewis waited until Cap Millet gave them their 
money. Then King mounted the sheriff's horse and 
Lewis one of the deputies and rode away. 

A cowboy was sent to Griffin for a doctor and an am- 
bulance. Both arrived in the evening and the wounded 
officers were taken to the government hospital. 

Kentuck met the ambulance as the v/ounded men and 
their escort came up Griffin avenue. 

"Don't say I told you so, Kentuck," said Sheriff Simp- 
son, as he smiled grimly over the sad greeting. 

"No, Green, old man, I won't take such a sneaking ad- 
vantage of you. I'm very sorry to see you boys in this 
condition, and I hope for your speedy recovery." 

"Oh, I deserve to die, Kentuck, for leading Herron 
and Phillips into that death trap." 

"Never mind, Green ; you did what you thought to be 
your duty." 

"Glad to hear you say so, Kentuck!" 

Six weeks later all three of the officers were convalesc- 
ing, and in two months were able to leave the hospital 
for their homes. 

And now, lest the recital of events set forth in this 
volume become tiresome to the readers who have fol- 
lowed the true story of the men, as they quirted and 
spurred their wiry little bronchos over the great free 
grass cattle range of Northwest Texas in the early days 
of the frontier, we will do well to let the vanishing shad- 


ows fade once more into the hazy distance of the long 
ago, and return to our present daily life. 

He was reckless in his speech and uncouth in his dress, 
That old time Texas cowpuncher, and, we must confess, 
When mounted astride of his broncho, made a display- 
That looked dangerous to those who disputed his way. 

With spur to the flank and his quirt upon the withers, 
A wild yell of defiance that gave you most awful shivers, 
Dashed down the street, shot after shot, emptying his gun, 
But, when arrested, says, "Pard, it's only in fun." 

ROlEija 1553M 

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